New Caledonia battled back from a goal down to eventually run out 4-1 winners over Papua New Guinea.
Tournament host Vanuatu and New Caledonia both enjoyed opening wins in Group A of the 2016 OFC Championship in Port Vila over the weekend.
New Caledonia were back on their heels midway through the first half when Papua New Guinea’s impressive forward, Giwi Simon, caught Pothin Poma in possession and teed up Alu Awi for the game’s opening goal.
New Caledonia lived dangerously for the remainder of the first half, but found reward for an energetic start to the second when Albert Watrone combined skill with persistency and squeezed in a 56th minute equaliser.
Then just over 10 minutes later, Thomas Gope Fenepej gave New Caledonia the lead from a penalty spot.
Pothin Poma made amends for his earlier transgression with an expertly placed free kick to extend the advantage with eight minutes remaining.
Substitute Warren Houala added the extras with New Caledonia’s fourth deep into extra time.
Meanwhile, Coach Peter Gumemba was disappointed with the team’s performance.
In the other matches Vanuatu shocked defending champions Fiji in 1-0.
In Group B matches on Saturday in Santo, New Zealand saw off Cook Islands 3-0 while Tahiti and Solomon Islands drew 2-2.
Meanwhile, Group A resumes on Tuesday when New Caledonia face Fiji in the noon kick-off and Vanuatu take on Papua New Guinea at 3pm (Vanuatu time).
Source: OFC Media Office