BY ROMULUS HUTA
THE national youth side came back from a goal deficit to book a crucial opening 3-2 win against New Caledonia yesterday in Group B of the OFC Under-19 championship currently underway in Tahiti.
Maximum points gathered from this encounter certainly gave Solomon Islands the opportunity to sit on second spot of the group behind leader Fiji, who defeated Vanuatu 3-1 in the other match.
Solomon Islands had a slow start in the game which resulted in New Caledonia taking up earlier lead through their captain Cyril Drawilo in the 23rd minute from the spot.
New Caledonia earned the penalty after Aengari Gagame fouled a New Caledonia player in the box, resulted in the Solomon Islander been cautioned as well.
The game was levelled at 1-1 four minutes before halftime through left winger Lino Houaria after meeting a well-taken cross from Junior David.
Houaria made no mistake in guiding the ball inside the back post past the New Caledonia goalkeeper.
In the second half, a one-on-one break into the box by Ali Mekawir saw the midfielder fouled by the New Caledonian goalkeeper and earned a well-deserved penalty call.
Patrick Taroga stepped up from the spot and made Solomon Islands leading 2-1 for the first time in the match by the 53rd minute.
Solomon Islands then extended their lead further to 3-1 after the hour mark when a corner sent from the right mistakenly resulted in an own goal attributed to Lucas Bitaud of New Caledonia.
New Caledonia made a late surge but could only managed to score one goal as Solomon Islands held on to win the match by 3-2.