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PNG retains Games title

PNG beat New Caledonia 1-0 in the gold medal play-off at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium last Thursday.

And the first to congratulate the heroic team was PNGFA and OFC president David Chung.

“I am so proud of the women for setting a record four time champions tag in the Pacific Games,” he said.

“I make special mention of skipper Deslyn Siniu for being part of all four victories over a period of sixteen years, a remarkable achievement,” he added.

A 21st minute goal by Papua New Guinea’s Marie Kaipu was enough for the defending Pacific Games women’s soccer champions to keep their title for the fourth time.

New Caledonia entered the final determined to end their subjugation to the Papua New Guinea women but had their hopes dashed with a 1-0 scoreline despite putting in a great effort over the entire 90 minutes.

In front of a partisan crowd of more than 6000, PNG, led ably by veteran Deslyn Siniu, proved to be a class above the New Caledonians and managed their way to the gold medal in a tense but exciting match that saw the both sides presented with opportunities to score.

The home side were allowed easy possession at regular intervals as New Caledonia struggled to find their rhythm in the early exchanges.

Midfielder Gerogina Kaikas was a tower of strength and calmness in centre field as she worked well with her defensive quartet to shut-down several promising raids and counter-attacks.

PNG coach Gary Philips described the win as an “ugly” but was proud of his side’s courage to hold on defensively when New Caledonia picked up the pace in second half.

“We were under a lot of pressure but we held our structure, we could have done better with the ball our offensive play wasn’t great but defensively I don’t think they have a shot at the game we defended magnificently,” Philips said.

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