Thursday 24 November 2011 | Published in Regional
A goal scored deep into injury time has handed the Cook Islands national mens soccer team a crushing defeat to Samoa in the first day of Oceania qualifying for 2014 Brazil World Cup.
The Cook Islands lost to the host team 3-2 in the match, which was only decided three minutes into injury time during the second half.
The two teams were evenly matched in the early stage of the match, with the first goal going to Samoa in the 15th minute through their striker Luki Gosche.
The Cooks replied with the equaliser seven minutes later through Campbell Best after the Samoan goal keeper made a mistake in the goal area.
In the later stage of the first half, Samoa dominated ball possession and a defensive error by the Cook Islands central defenders gave Gosche the opportunity to score his second goal for Samoa and put the host team one-goal up at half time.
The second half brought some slightly patchy play from both teams, neither making clear scoring opportunities.
With six minutes of play remaining, Best latched on to a through ball from the Cooks mid-field area and blasted it at half volley into the back of the net to score the best goal of the match.
Both teams tried tirelessly to score the winning goal in the dying stages of regular play.
Then, with the match about two and a half minutes into injury time, another error in the Cook Islands defence allowed Samoa to score the winning goal to bring the final score to 3-2.
Earlier on Tuesday afternoon American Samoa defeated Tonga 2-1.
Today, the Cooks will play American Samoa at 3pm while Tonga take on host Samoa at 5.30pm.