The reigning Oceania champs Australia almost contemplated an embarrassing scenario in playing for the third and fourth place playoff preceding Sundays final. However, in bizarre circumstances two minutes from full-time, Tahitian goalkeeper Xavier Samin who had been brilliant all night failed to control a shot taken from a free kick, which allowed Mehmed Durakovic to follow up and slot the shot home saving the Socceroos from their worst ever defeat since 1988.
Super-sub Joel Porter was a big part in the Socceroos comeback bringing relief to his countryman and especially coach Frank Farina who admitted afterwards they had got out of jail.
But for much of the match, Tahiti had looked to have had the measure of the Socceroos employing appropriate tactics to stem the Socceroos attacking options; at the same time being able to execute several counter-attacking moves.
Tahitis Teva Zaveroni latched on to a superb pass from a throw-in. His shot seemed tainted with a tinge of luck taking an unorthodox route to the goal, which left the Socceroos stunned, especially goalkeeper Jason Petkovic. This sent the Tahitian bench into raptures and suddenly brought the small crowd to life. From there on in, the crowd seemed to urge on the Tahitians to victory; even the New Zealand All Whites finding it hard to take their eyes of the game as they awaited their own semi-final that was to follow.
As the minutes ticked by, the frustrated Socceroos conceded two late yellow cards to Tom Pondeljak and Angelo Constanzo. The Tahitians ate up every desperate attempt for the equalizer. As the rain fell in the second half, nobody would have thought it was to play a part in the final act. With defeat imminent, New Zealand referee Derek Rugg awarded the Socceroos a free kick just outside the box slightly to the left side.
The shot found Samins trusty hands, which for that fatal moment failed to latch on to the ball this time no doubt the rain contributing to this. The crowd gasped when the ball spilled out of his hands which Durakovic immediately capitalized on like a kid in a candy store. With the match drawn level, the life seemed to dweeb from the Tahitian cause.
Not long after the whistle signaled extra-time. In the sixth minute of extra-time, Damian Mori scored the inevitable golden goal just seconds after his first attempt was saved by Samin.
A distraught Tahitian coach Jacquemet rued the missed opportunity to create history, but hailed his players for their gutsy performance. Farina admitted his players could not have played any worse and the wake-up call would provide motivation to their final against New Zealand All Whites where it appears they may be the underdogs.
38 min - # 8 Teva Zaveroni Australia 0 Tahiti 1
88 min - # 4 Mehmed DurakovicAustralia 1 Tahiti 1
96 min (extra time) - golden goal to # 9 Damian MoriAustralia 2 Tahiti 1
51 min - # 8 Joel Porter for # 10 Bobby Depotovoski
51 min - # 6 Patrick Kisnorbo for # 2 Fausto De Amicis
65 min - # 16 Paul Trimboli for # 13 Milan Blagojevic
62 min - # 10 Tony Senechal for # 17 Angelo Tchen
93 min - # 19 Gabriel Wajoka for 9 Felix Tagawa
49 min - # 17 Angelo Tchen (Tahiti)
53 min - # 9 Felix Tagawa (Tahiti)
66 min - # 12 Tom Pondeljak (Australia)
82 min - # 14 Angelo Costanzo (Australia)
Australia: 1. Jason Petkovic 2. Fausto de Amicis 3. Jade North 4. Mehmed Durakovic 9. Damien Mori 10. Bobby Despotovski 11. Scott Chipperfield 12. Tom Poneljak 13. Milan Blagojevic 14. Angelo Costanzo 17. Ante Juric
BENCH: 5. Steve Horvat 6. Patrick Kisnorbo 7. Robert Middlesby 8. Joel Porter 15. Ante Milicic 16. Paul Trimboli 18. Dean Anastasiadis
Coach: Frank Farina
Tahiti: 2. Steeve Fatupua-Lecaill 5. Sylvain Booene 6. Tetahio Auraa 7. Samuel Garcia 8. Teva Zaveroni 9. Felix Tagawa 11. Naea Bennett 12. Harry Tong Song 13. Abel Terevarua 17. Angelo Tchen 20. Xavier Samin
BENCH: 3. Iotua Kautai 10. Tony Senechal 14. Geiamano Guyon 15. Larry Marmaouyet 16. Daniel Tapeta 18. Raimoana Bennett 19. Gabriel Wajoka