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Samoa ends American Samoa's dream run

November 27, 2011
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APIA, Samoa—American Samoa's captivating run in Oceania's World Cup qualifying ended Sunday with a 1-0 loss to Samoa on Silao Malo's last-minute goal.

American Samoa, 204th and last in FIFA rankings, captured world attention when it beat Tonga in its opening match at the four-nation, round-robin tournament, notching its first-ever international win.

Another win Sunday would have seen it advance to the second round of qualifying, and the defense, based around center back Johnny Saelua -- thought to be the world's first transgender international -- held strong until the 90th minute when Malo scored on a counterattack.

Samoa advanced to the next stage in Oceania qualifying, where it will be in a round-robin group with New Caledonia, Tahiti and Vanuatu. The other second-round group involves 2010 World Cup qualifier New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, with the top two from each group advancing.

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