Day Two Review

Papua New Guinea, second favourites to take the title after New Zealand, justified their reputation with the 3-0 victory over a physical Fijian side and didn’t take long to make their mark. The impressive Sammy Peninsa popped up at the back post to tap home a cross from the equally eye-catching Dasi Winas in just the eighth minute and the South Pacific Games champions never really looked like losing the match from there.
Zeena Limbai and Rumona Morris added two goals in quick succession in the middle of the second half to round off a miserable week for Fiji coach Ramesh Sharma. His preparations for the tournament were interrupted by the death of his father last week and he would’ve preferred a more pleasing performance to lift his spirits.
He says his players have struggled to adjust to the chilly conditions in Auckland but admits they were outplayed and did not deserve to take anything from the match.
“I think Papua New Guinea are a very good side and they were the better team today. They dominated most aspects of the game,” Sharma says.
He was most disappointed about the manner in which the goals were conceded.
“We definitely have to work on our defence. It was very weak this afternoon and we must now aim to regroup and earn the second semi-final spot in the pool.”
Papua New Guinea coach Francis Moyap was understandably far more upbeat but also says his side have plenty to work on.
“We need to keep the ball. Like I always say, if you keep the ball you can score but if you don’t have it then nothing happens.”
The win was especially significant for youngster Rumona Morris. The teenager skippered her country’s U-15 side at the recent Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and was making her debut at senior level today. She made the perfect start by coming off the bench and scoring with her first touch of the ball.
Solomon Islands’ victory was also one to jot down in the record books as it is their biggest ever victory at senior women’s level. The 4-0 result beats their previous largest winning margin of 3-0 over American Samoa in 2007.
Ileen Pegi was the star of the show with two goals while Ella Misibini and Betty Maenu’u also found the net.
“It’s a good win for us and a great start to the tournament,” coach Timothy Inifiri says.
“It’s too early to say anything but we are looking forward to playing the other teams in our group. We have seen how Papua New Guinea played in the other match today and will work on how to counter them in Saturday’s game.”
Attention turns to Group A again tomorrow when Tahiti meet Vanuatu at 1pm and Cook Islands face New Zealand at 3.30pm. Both matches take place on the oval ground at North Harbour Stadium.
LIVE text updates of every match will be available online at oceaniafootball.com
Papua New Guinea vs. Fiji Match Summary Download PDF
Solomon Islands vs. Tonga Match Summary Download PDF
Competition Summary after Round 1 Download PDF

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