New Zealand celebrate Noah Billingsley's crucial strike ©New Zealand Football

New Zealand were given a stern examination before the semi-finals of the Oceania Football Confederation Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament, beating a brave Solomon Islands 4-2 in their final Group A match in Fiji.

The tournament winners are guaranteed a slot at Tokyo 2020, with favourites New Zealand having already qualified for the semi-finals alongside Fiji, Vanuatu and their opponents today.

While New Zealand have won all their matches so far, against Samoa (6-1) and American Samoa (12-0), top place in Group A was still up for grabs.

The unfancied Solomon Islands took a shock lead in the first minute, with Patrick Taroga firing home from close range.

It was in the 36th minute that New Zealand finally equalised, as Clayton Lewis scored a low, long-range effort.

Myer Bevan then made the halftime team talk slightly easier for coach Des Buckingham, putting New Zealand ahead in the 39th minute.

Myler Bevan celebrates his double against the Solomon Islands ©Oceania Football
Myler Bevan celebrates his double against the Solomon Islands ©Oceania Football

When Noah Billingsley headed home a free-kick in the 52nd minute the result looked beyond doubt, but the Solomon Islands had other ideas.

With 10 minutes left, Tuita Maeobia arrowed a stunning effort into the top corner to make it 3-2.

But Bevan's second goal, in injury time, ensured victory and Group A top spot for New Zealand.

"I thought it was a great performance from us and a really good game actually," Buckingham said.

"The Solomons are very well coached, have some very good players and posed a tough test.

"We went down a goal early on but stayed composed and stuck to the way we do things, so to come away with a win that puts us top of the group is really pleasing,” he added.

New Zealand now face either Fiji or Vanuatu, who play tomorrow in Group B, in the semi-finals on Wednesday (October 2), with the knockout stages in Lautoka.

In the other Group A match, Samoa defeated American Samoa 5-0.

Men's Olympic football is played with under-23 players, although three overage players are allowed.