Socceroos' dramatic 2004 World Cup qualifier in Adelaide

A young Tim Cahill fights for the ball against the Solomon Islands at Hindmarsh Stadium in 2004.
FFA TV | Ange rallies Socceroos fans Play Video
-
It’s been more than a decade since Adelaide last hosted a Socceroos World Cup qualifier, a drama-charged clash against the Solomon Islands in 2004 - and boy was this game a shock.

Still a part of Oceania Confederation in those days (we're of course AFC now) Hindmarsh Stadium hosted the OFC Nations Cup – which doubled as part of the region’s FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji and the Solomons competed in the round-robin tournament over nine days, with the top two sides to progress to the final round of qualifying.

And while most expected the Socceroos and All Whites to progress, Solomon Islands threw up a surprise to clinch second spot with a 2-2 draw with Frank Farina’s side in the last group game.

Commins Menapi – who played with Sydney United in the old NSL – scored twice for the visitors either side of goals to a young Tim Cahill and future EPL star Brett Emerton.

Other names to feature for the Socceroos on that June night included Tim Cahill, Josip Skoko, John Aloisi, Alex Brosque, Patrick Kisnorbo and one Max Vieri (younger brother of Christian). 

But it was Menapi who stole the show, opening the scoring just before half-time when he outmuscled Adrian Madaschi just inside the area before smashing a powerful drive past Zeljko Kalac.

No doubt fired-up from a fierce spray from coach Frank Farina at the break, the Socceroos hit back hard early in the second half.

First Cahill stabbed home a shot through a crowded penalty area on 51 minutes before Emerton was on hand at the far post just two minutes later to slam home Ahmad Elrich’s cross.

At 2-1 it seemed as though the green and gold would go on with the job but a crude challenge by Kisnorbo on Henry Fa'arodo earned the defender a second yellow card and the home side were down to 10 men.

And the Solomons made their numerical advantage count.

Menapi was released on the left of the penalty area and he unerringly fired a shot past Kalac to cue jubilant scenes for the visitors as they achieved the biggest result in their history.

This article was originally published at: http://www.socceroos.com.au/article/socceroos-dramatic-2004-world-cup-qualifier-against-solomon-islands-in-adelaide/md10u3qgd3y21nb4ebv3sz07h.