SI second in UEFA tournament


The squad pose for a team photo after the match. Photo: Moses Toata.

The Solomon Islands U-17 national team finished second in the UEFA International development tournament after a 2-2 draw with Kazakhstan last night.

Wonder-boy Raphael Lea’i continued his explosive form,  scoring both goals and establishing himself as the tournament’s top scorer, with four goals in three games but received a red card in the second half.

Solomon Islands went down to 9 players after Philip Ropa was also sent off.

The young lads led 2-1 heading into the last 10 minutes but Kazakhstan with their numerical advantage draw level seven minutes before full time and went on to win on penalties after two penalty misses from Solomon Islands.

Hosts Belarus won the competition based on the direct play rule.

According to media statement by the Solomon Islands Football Federation, SIFF technical director Moses Toata explained the overall outcome.

“Belarus and Solomon Both end with 5 points each and with the same goal difference,” he said.

“For this tournament, Belarus the winner is not really important because it is part of development and expereience for teams,

“So there is no price for winning the competition. But the expereience we had and what we learn from playing in Europe is the most important thing.”

Coach Stanley Waita was pleased with his boys overall performances throughout the competition.

“I am really happy with the way our young boys performed here in Europe,” he said.

“It is a development competition so the rules are quite different, but like I said we have learn a lot during the tournament.”

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