Things didn’t get better with Fijian referee Andrew Achari not controlling the game well to allow continuous fouls to unpenalised.
This led to rising a tension between both sides as one red card was dished out to PNG’s sweeper, Cyril Mutain the 75th minute and several yellow cards to players from both sides as well getting penalised.
Muta held the neck of Tahiti’s Sebastian Labayen in a show of frustration and was sent out. He is likely to miss the next match against Kiribati and possibly return for the last pool match against favourites Fiji.
With the injury (hamstring) to striker Reginald Davani, PNG Head Coach Frank Farina said those are definite two changes amongst a host of others going into their third match on Saturday. Farina sais it was a frustrating result for the both teams.
It was always going to be tough with ten players to finish the game. They started off with a very physical game from the start and the players showed good character to maintain their composure, Farina commented.
With the scores locked at 1-1 at half time, the scenario didn’t change much with PNG content to hold out for the draw.
Tahiti had several opportunities but either went wide or goal keeper Leslie Kalai kept them their shots.
The only real opportunity for PNG was a couple of sizzling shots from Niel Hans and a late free kick by skipper David Muta on the edge of the 18 yard box.
PNG defenders Andrew Lepani, Valentine Nelson and Jeremy Yasasa had to work overtime in holding out Tahiti.
Tahiti failed to clear the ball quickly in the 15th minute when Niel Hans bends it to the far post of Tahiti’s goalmouth and with help from team mate’s quick move, Cyril Muta quickly stabs the ball home, scoring the opening goal. However, Tahiti were able to equalize in the 23rd minute soon after when Stanley Atani headed the ball.