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Samoa, AmSam win WCup qualifiers

Oceania qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ has commenced with American Samoa creating a slice of history with a 2-1 victory over Tonga in Samoa. (FIFA photo)

APIA, Samoa (AP) —American Samoa won its first international football match after 30 consecutive losses by beating Tonga 2-1 to the start Oceania qualifying for the 2014 World Cup qualifying on Tuesday night. American Samoa, equal 203rd and last in the FIFA rankings, had been outscored 229-12 since starting international play in 1994, including a world record 31-0 defeat to Australia in a World Cup qualifier a decade ago.

New coach Thomas Rongen was hired in October after being fired as coach of the U.S. Under-20 team in May.

Ramin Ott scored on a long-range shot in the 44th minute and Shalom Luani lobbed over goalkeeper Kaneti Falela in the 74th for American Samoa. Unaloto Faeo headed home a cross from Lafaele Moala to score a consolation goal in the 87th for Tonga, which is 201st in the rankings.

In a thrilling second match, Albert Bell scored in the second minute of stoppage time to give Samoa a 3-2 win over the Cook Islands.

Strikers Luki Gosche and Campbell Bell traded goals as Samoa twice took the lead and as the Cook Islands twice battled back to parity.

Gosche gave Samoa a 1-0 lead when he ran onto a pass from Desmond Fa'aiuaso and beat Cook Islands goalkeeper Iona Lupena.

Lupena made amends when he first saved a penalty from Fa'aiuaso and, when the referee ruled the 'keeper had impeded the shooter, saved the second penalty attempt from Silao Malo.

Campbell Best equalized after Paavo Mustonen's curving free kick was saved by Samoa's Masi Toetu but Samoa immediately regained the lead with Gosche's second goal after a mistake in defense.

A low volley from Campbell Best locked the scores a 2-2 after 85 minutes but Albert Bell's scrambled goal in extra time gave the hosts victory.

The group winner advances to the eight-nation second round, which includes 2010 World Cup qualifier New Zealand in a tournament at Fiji in July that doubles as the 2012 Oceania Nations Cup.

The top four teams from the OFC Nations Cup will advance to the third and final round of Oceania qualifying for Brazil 2014.



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