They have one hand on the OFC U-19 Women’s Championship trophy and New Zealand want to make it a clean sweep when they play their final match of the competition against Tonga at Ngahue Reserve tomorrow.
While the Kiwis hold an unattainable lead in the standings, three sides remain very much in the hunt for the two remaining positions on the podium.
Second-placed Fiji will play New Caledonia and a win or draw for either side would see them remain on the podium, but only if Samoa manages to get a result over Papua New Guinea in the day’s final encounter.
Samoa will go up against Papua New Guinea in what should be an exciting match-up.
Papua New Guinea proved against Fiji that they’re not a side that gives up easily, and they will need to bring all of that resolve to the field when they take on one of the competition’s most stubborn defensive lines.
Samoa’s ability to hold New Zealand to just a 2-0 lead at half-time was proof they’re capable of defending well when required and only the leaders have conceded less goals than the Samoans so far.
Coach Martin Tamasese believes his side has shone in each of their matches so far, and he expects another stellar performance on Monday.
Having encounter the physicality of Tonga and Fiji, and come off reasonably well, Papua New Guinea coach Rachel Wadunah is confident her team will be able to play to their strengths to once more counter the physical element their opponent will present.
She expects her side will also be more accurate on attack, especially after reviewing the match against Fiji and realising just how many chances they let slip through the cracks.
“The girls did very well against Fiji but they had a lot of opportunities to score but never put those away,” Wadunah said.
“Mentally they were strong and that was good, we need to see that toughness again in this final game.”
Samoa vs. Papua New Guinea
Auckland, New Zealand
Monday 21 July
Referee: Morgan ARCHER (NZL)
Assistant Referee 1: Lata KAUMATULE (TGA)
Assistant Referee 2: Beth RATTRAY (NZL)
Fourth Official: Torika DELAI (FIJ)
Vital Statistics: Although they don’t have the best goal difference of the participating teams, Samoa have conceded the least goals behind New Zealand. Samoa have conceded 10, two less than Tonga.
The Players: After an injury to first-choice keeper Katarina Ah Sui, reserve keeper Jecky Toma has stepped up to the challenge. Her impressive performances began against Fiji and continued against New Zealand as she denied the Kiwis time and again.
Coach Quote: “We’re going to work on our structure and in particular our defence, for the game against Fiji on Monday.”
Samoa: 1. Katarina AH SUI (GK), 2. Renee ATONIO, 3. Hunter MALAKI, 4. Epi TAFILI, 5. Mariecamilla AH KI, 6. Sonya TANUVASA, 7. Rachael TAGATAULI, 8. Liana SOIFUA, 9. Tianna SEKONA, 10. Shalom FISO, 11. Matalena FASSAVALU, 12. Talaiesea MULITALO, 13. Mole SAOFAIGA, 14. Emele PALETASALA, 15. Natiflo PEREIRA, 16. Conzuella VATU, 17. Vineta FALEAANA, 18. Jecky TOMA (GK)
Coach: Martin TAMASESE (SAM)
Papua New Guinea
Vital Statistics: Papua New Guinea were runners-up in 2012 and 2014 before skipping the 2015 edition of this tournament due to their automatic entry to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup as 2016 hosts. They are one point behind Fiji and a win would see them reclaim that runners-up position they covet.
The Players: Ramona Padio was shut out of much of the game by Fiji but when she is in possession her control can be devastating to her opponents. The attacking trio of Selina Unamba, Nicollete Ageva and Jacklyn Maiyosi are a force to be reckoned with as they use pace to get in behind their opponents.
Coach Quote: “We know Samoa are physical so what we want to do is play one-touch around them and we should be able to win.”
Papua New Guinea: 1. Faith KASIRAY (GK), 2. Natasha SAGEM, 3. Margret JOSEPH, 4. Isabella NATERA, 5. Bridget PAIME, 7. Marity SEP, 8. Alison PAULIAS, 9. Selina UNAMBA, 10. Nicollete AGEVA, 13. Ramona PADIO, 14. Leah KARO, 16. Serah TAMGOL, 17. Melisa JOFARI, 18. Jacklyn MAIYOSI, 19. Gorethy PAOFA, 20. Amatha MISTERA
Suspended: 12. Belinda GIADA
Coach: Rachel Wadunah (PNG)