OFC: New Zealand remains unbeaten competition leaders following an 18-0 defeat of Vanuatu, while Samoa climb into second position after beating New Caledonia 6-2 on Match Day 3 of the 2015 OFC U-20 Women’s Championship.
The victory for Samoa follows a 3-3 draw against Tonga in their first game on Saturday, and lifts them to four competition points, one ahead of nearest chasers Vanuatu.
Samoa coach Leti Tamasese had viewed the game a dangerous one, given New Caledonia were coming off a record 26-0 defeat to New Zealand in their last game.
“We heard that they had two losses but we didn’t underestimate them,” she says.
“You never know what happens so we wanted to make sure we played our game.
“I am so happy with my girls, I take my hat off to them. They played according to what we trained and our game plan.”
Samoa took only five minutes to get the scoring started at the Loto-Tonga Soka Centre, however the goal came against the run of play as New Caledonia bossed possession in the early exchanges.
But one mistake was all Samoa needed to capitalise, as goalkeeper Noemie Trojanie had the ball stolen from her feet while attempting to dribble out, providing Vaaipu Moataa with an uncontested run to goal.
Three minutes later the lead was doubled after Shalom Fiso got one-on-one with the keeper and made no mistake from close range.
Despite what the scoreboard read New Caledonia were right in the game, and when awarded a free kick 25 yards out from goal defender Marie-Luce Tchacko stepped up to deliver a brilliant driven ball into the back of the net which halved the gap.
That goal only added to New Caledonia’s enthusiastic style, and for the next few minutes they were the superior team.
When Samoa did have their chances defender Coralie Brandao made a habit of popping up to prevent any further progress.
But once again Kamali Fitialeata’s side weren’t able to transform possession into goals, and on 23 minutes Fiso got in behind the line to slot her second and give Samoa a 3-1 lead.
In the final five minutes of the half set piece opportunities for both sides would have a telling effect on the match.
For Samoa it was a positive one, as Australia-based captain Matalena Daniells curled home a free kick from outside the box to net her side’s fourth goal.
Three minutes later New Caledonia wasted their chance after they were awarded a penalty, pinging the attempt off the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
Early in the second period Yali Hace and Malory Oniary did their best to pull back the 4-1 deficit, creating number of chances by hassling the Samoa midfield and winning the ball.
But errors at the other end hurt New Caledonia once again, as Fiso exposed them for speed and secured her hat-trick on 51 minutes.
In need of goals in a hurry, Fitialeata pulled Brandao from the field and replaced her with midfielder Cynthia Poapeda, adjusting his formation to play with just two at the back in the process.
While the shift saw them create a number of good chances up front, eventually New Caledonia were found out in defence and Marcella Nielsen, who had subbed on only five minutes earlier, added a sixth for Samoa.
New Caledonia did eventually get one back, with Oniary scoring in the 82nd minute to bring the score back to a more respectable 6-2 at full time.
The result ensures New Caledonia remain firmly at the bottom of the table, and with only 14 fit players remaining the job won’t get any easier against Tonga on Thursday.
While pleased to see improvement from their last encounter, Fitialeata says he remains frustrated with the situation they find themselves in.
“The girls played better and had a much more combative spirit going into this game,” he says.
“Their approach was completely different and even if we tried to impose our game I have a team that is missing a bit of heart, a bit of pride and you can see that on the field.
“We don’t have enough girls, we don’t have enough in the legs, we don’t have enough substitutes and it doesn’t truly reflect Caledonian football.
“Women’s football in New Caledonia isn’t represented today or during this tournament and that’s frustrating.”
The second match of the afternoon saw New Zealand maintain their unbeaten record with an 18-0 victory over Vanuatu.
On her way to scoring nine goals Emma Rolston etched her name in history for the second time in as many days, overtaking Football Fern Rosie White for the most goals ever by an U-20 women’s player from Oceania.
On Saturday she had netted 11 goals, the highest ever individual tally in a single OFC women’s match.
Against Vanuatu captain Jasmine Pereira got her name on the score sheet six times, while a double to Michaela Robertson and penalty from midfielder Daisy Cleverley made an even 18.
While the game was never in doubt and the score line hugely impressive once again, the performance wasn’t New Zealand’s best as they struggled to keep possession against an energetic Vanuatu.
Post-match coach Leon Birnie agreed.
“Credit to the opposition they broke the play up, it wasn’t as fluid as the other two games, so a little disappointing for our girls in their performance,” he says.
“Our standards weren’t as high as they were in the first two games but we’ll go away and have a few days off now.”
He also stopped to pay credit to Rolston and her special achievement.
“She has just become the highest goal scorer in Oceania for an U-20 women’s player so she deserves that, and it’s also a credit to the girls who set up a lot of her goals too.”
For Vanuatu the loss delivered a crushing return to reality, after celebrating their first ever victory at an OFC U-20 Women’s Championship on Match Day 1.
And while coach Joel Rarua had anticipated a better outcome from the game, he conceded they were up against a much better side.
“I was expecting more of a game, but we tried our best, the team tried their best,” he says.
“New Zealand are more technical in their touches and their passing is very good, we tried to catch up with that but they are just too good.”
The competition pauses now for rest days on Tuesday and Wednesday, before Match Day 4 takes place on Thursday with Samoa playing Vanuatu and New Caledonia facing Tonga.
New Zealand have the bye and won’t play again until Saturday.