Tahiti's Heimanu Taiarui and Lewie Valentine of the United States during their FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup match on September 21, 2013 in Papeete, Tahiti. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
PAPEETE, Tahiti – The United States rallied from a two-goal deficit to force extra time, but Patrick Tepa struck twice in the final 44 seconds to lift Tahiti to a 5-3 victory in the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup on Saturday at To’ata Stadium.
The result eliminated the CONCACAF champion from contention in the team’s first appearance at the event since 2007, while Tahiti advanced to the knockout phase of any FIFA tournament for the first time.
The host jumped in front 2-0 on goals by Raimana Li Fung Kuee and Raimoana Bennett in the 3rd and 4th minutes, respectively.
The Americans got on the scoreboard in the 18th minute after a neatly worked play from a throw-in resulted in an own-goal by Angelo Tchen.
Five minutes later, Tahiti restored its two-goal lead as Tearii Labaste brilliantly executed an overhead kick
With their backs against the wall, the U.S. staged a furious comeback.
Mario Chimienti made it 3-2 in the 32nd minute, firing home from the right off a Nicolas Perera square ball.
The battling Perera would not be denied three minutes later, outmuscling a Tahitian defender to level the score with his second goal in two games and sending the game to extra-time.
NOTES: The game generated an extraordinary 80 shots in 39 minutes of play…the U.S. will close out its participation in the tournament with a game against the United Arab Emirates on Monday.