Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia booked their place in the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Nations Cup as the group stages of the competition drew to a close at the Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby.
The host nation headed into the tie fresh from draws against New Caledonia and Tahiti, but knew a victory over a Samoan team, who had shipped 11 goals in their opening two matches, would see them advance to the semi-finals.
Michael Foster and Raymond Gunemba settled the nerves of the home fans by giving their side a 2-0 advantage in the first half of the tie.
Foster was able to double his tally in the 51st minute, with his strike followed by a flurry of goals as Papua New Guinea looked to improve their goal difference.
Nigel Dabingyaba scored a brace, with his goals coming either side of efforts from Koriak Upaiga and Gunemba, as Papua New Guinea moved into a 7-0 lead in the final 15 minutes of the tie.
A memorable day for Gunemba was completed when he completed his hat-trick after rounding the Samoan goalkeeper Ted Sikovi.
The forward was brought down in the penalty area moments after his strike, leading to a red card for Samoa’s Keone Kapisi, but Alwin Komolong saw his penalty saved by Sikovi.
Following Papua New Guinea’s 8-0 triumph, defending champions Tahiti required a win over New Caledonia to leapfrog their opponents in the group standings to advance the last four.
Their hopes were dealt a crushing blow when Bertrand Kai gave New Caledonia a 1-0 lead with 10 minutes remaining of a tightly fought match.
Teaonui Tehau levelled the scoreline in added time after backheeling into the net following a goalmouth scramble after a corner, but it proved too late for Tahti to turn the tie around.
The goal, though, meant that Papua New Guinea topped Group A on goal difference from New Caledonia, which will see them advance to a semi-final tie against the Solomon Islands.
New Caledonia will now take on four-time winners New Zealand in the last four.
The tournament winners will also advance to the 2017 Confederations Cup.
After finishing third in their respective groups, Fiji and Tahiti will advance to the third round of OFC qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, along with New Zealand, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.