OFC: Papua New Guinea’s hopes of reaching the Girls’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament semi-finals rest on downing Slovakia on Wednesday in Nanjing.
Beaten 7-0 by South American hot-shots Venezuela in their first match, Papua New Guinea can still slip into the last four if they can somehow beat the European side in their final group match.
The Slovakians lost 6-2 to Venezuela after striker Deyna Castellanos spearheaded another goal fest for the South Americans in an exciting match by scoring a first half hat-trick to pave the way for a comfortable victory.
But Slovakia refused to let their heads hang however, and were rewarded for their attacking endeavours with a goal from Martina Surnovska shortly before the interval.
Nathalie Pasquel extended Venezuela’s lead again with a superb individual effort in the second half, only for the impressive Surnovska to strike once more.
Yet Venezuela’s victory was never in any doubt, with strikes from Yuleisi Rivero and a second from Pasquel sealing the win after a hugely entertaining game.
Nicknamed the Kurakums (or “weaver ants”), Papua New Guinea’s coach Margaret Aka pointed to the positives ahead of her team’s next match.
“The players did their best and deserve credit for their performance.
“We put up a good defence in the first half and our tactics were spot-on. It’s fair to say that the girls played the game we wanted to see,” Aka says.
The match kicks off at 6pm local time at Wutaishan Stadium in Nanjing on Wednesday 20 August.
Meanwhile, Vanuatu’s hopes of reaching the Youth Olympic Football Tournament semi-finals remain alive despite a heavy defeat to Korea Republic in Nanjing today.
Korea Republic defeated Vanuatu to secure their passage to the knockout stages as Group D victors, having already defeating Cape Verde Islands 5-0 in their opening game.
The two island nations from Africa and Oceania will face each other in the group’s final match to decide who takes the last semi-final spot.
Once again, the Asian side proved in impressive style why they are among the favourites to take home the gold medal.
Although Vanuatu had the first chance to score through Ronaldo Wilkins’ distance strike, Korea Republic then dominated at will.
A hat-trick from Kim Gyuhyeong and another goal from Jeong Wooyeong gave the Taeguk Warriors a 4-0 lead within the first 40 minutes.
The Koreans continued their lively pressing in the second half, ultimately equalling Bolivia’s record score of 9-0 against Haiti in 2010.
Kim Gyuhyeong netted his fourth of the evening while substitute Lee Jiyong grabbed a hat-trick of his own.
Vanuatu needs to beat Cape Verde Islands to make it to the semi final in three days time.