OFC World Cup Qualifying Review: Cook Islands, Samoa start strongly
Cook Islands and Samoa started the OFC World Cup qualifying first round with Taylor Saghabi a hat-trick hero.
Saghabi's name was the only one on the scoresheet in Cook Islands' 3-0 triumph over hosts Tonga on Monday, while Samoa won a local derby 3-1 over American Samoa despite having Lapalapa Toni sent off early in the second half.
Desmond Fa'aiuaso, Andrew Mobberley and Faitalia Pama all struck for Samoa in the opening half hour.
Although American Samoa got a goal back before half-time through Demetrius Beauchamp, Samoa held on for victory in the second half to join Cook Islands on three points at the top of the standings.
The top side in the four-team group will qualify for Oceania's second round of qualifying on the road to Russia 2018.