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Tonga loses opening match

Tonga were beaten 4 – 0 by a well-drilled Fiji side at Ngahue Reserve in Auckland during their first match at the OFC U – 19 Women’s Championship today.

The powerful presence of Cema Nasau and Timaima Vuniyayawa up front kept the Tonga defence on their toes, and Fifi Moala did well as the last defender to keep them from getting off too many shots.

A handball in the area by a Tongan defender was the opening Fiji needed and Nassau was accurate from the penalty spot as she placed the ball out of Mele Akolo’s reach. Before the end of the half Fiji had added a second courtesy of captain Luisa Tamanitoakula.

Tonga saw some moments of brilliance especially on the counter-attack with Carmel Uhila showing herself off as an emerging talent, while Seini Lutu’s experience was evident in her accuracy and timing.

However Fiji proved a touch more organised in their execution and come the 56th minute another foul in the Tonga penalty area had the referee Rani Perry pointing to the spot for the second time in the match.

This time it was captain Tamanitoakula putting it past a diving Akolo before Nasau sealed the win in the 65th minute with a fine strike earning her a brace.

Tonga coach Christian Koaneti admitted his side wasn’t as organised as their opponents and it showed in final result.

“All credit goes to Saroj (Kumar) and his girls,” Koaneti said.

“We tried to play according to what we planned, but it didn’t work out that way. I think during the match Fiji was much better ahead.

“I thought our defensive play was positive, they came in compact a few times which was good, but Fiji was technically superior to us today.”

Kumar was impressed with the display from his side and the way they into practice what had been discussed in training.

“They played according to what we have been doing in training, and it was good that they maintained their confidence throughout the game,” he said.

“It was good to see them opening up and building play from the back. It’s a good sign for us to start with so I am really pleased.”

The Tonga team will face Samoa in their second match this coming Friday.

Stpry courtesy of OFC.

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