Tonga edge Lebanon to reach World Cup semis

By Dejan Kalinic 18 November 2017
Tonga edge Lebanon to reach World Cup semis

Tonga booked a spot in the Rugby League World Cup semi-finals with an entertaining 24-22 win over Lebanon in Christchurch on Saturday.

Coming off an incredible upset victory against New Zealand that sealed top spot in Group B, Tonga proved too good against a brave Lebanon in the quarter-final clash.

The impressive David Fusitu'a crossed twice in a first half that featured seven tries.

However, despite constant pressure from Tonga, Lebanon held firm, staying in the contest until the closing stages and setting up a thrilling finish through Abbas Miski's second try.

But Tonga held on to reach the last four, where they will face either England or Papua New Guinea.

The opening 40 minutes were enthralling.

Fusitu'a was at the centre of Tonga's best attacking moments and his pass inside set up Tuimoala Lolohea for the game's first try after just three minutes.

Lebanon, who finished third in Group A, responded through Adam Doueihi before Fusitu'a dived over brilliantly in the corner for Tonga.

Either side of a James Elias try – which came with some luck after a kick from the impressive Mitchell Moses – Tonga scored through Will Hopoate and Fusitu'a.

Miski crossed just before half-time for Lebanon, who were somehow within six despite being on the back foot.

The second half was far tighter with Tonga opting for points with an Ata Hingano penalty in the 52nd minute.

Miski completed a wonderful team try in the 69th minute and Moses' conversion had Lebanon within two.

Lebanon pushed in the closing stages, but Tonga held on to deservedly progress.

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Dejan Kalinic

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