Fiji’s physical superiority was too much for Solomon Islands to overcome at Toleafoa JS Blatter Football Field today as Asena Reba Ratu and her team eased Timothy Inifiri’s
team out of the XIII South Pacific Games Women’s Football Tournament in Apia today.
A stunning hat-trick from Adiela Kurakaba put paid to Solomon Islands slim semi-final chances as Fiji dominated the midfield with Ratu, Moce and Kurikaba looking too sharp for a
technically gifted opponent simply unable to assert themselves for any meaningful length of time.
For Layda Samani and Prudence Fula – the two players Solomon Islands rely upon the most to produce goals – the task against Fiji was simply too big an ask with Fiji exerting control of
the game from the get go and adding to that a technical precision Solomon Islands were unable to match.
Fiji captain Asena Reba Ratu was impeccable in the midfield engine room, her desire to be involved in every aspect of play tiring for spectators to watch, let alone opponents to halt. Ratu
had involvement in Kurakaba’s first two goals before Farouk Janeman elected to rest his skipper with bigger matches on the horizon.
“Asena is a wonderful player, the best, but it is important for us to take care how we use her in matches because she wants to be involved all the time.
She has everything, she is a natural leader and her understanding of the game is great. If I want to make a change to the way we play, Asena can make it happen, and this is an important
quality,” said Fiji coach Farouk Janeman.
Solomon Islands coach Timothy Inifiri is another admirer of Ratu’s play and paid a compliment to her performance.
“Ratu is a good player a little bit ahead of what we have. But this Solomon Islands team is still very young but we have seen an improvement since the OFC/FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying
campaign and we’ve taken another step here.
Almost our entire squad will be eligible for next year’s OFC/FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers, so we should approach this experience here positively,” Inifiri said.
0′- The teams pose for photographs only moments away from kick-off here Toleafoa JS Blatter Football Field at an overcast and cool Apia, Samoa, in a match Solomon Islands
women’s team must win to qualify for the semi-finals…with a South Pacific Games medal slot beckoning…and a shot at the 2008 Beijing Olympics on the line
1′- The match gets underway at a frenetic pace with Fiji making early in-roads as Asena Reba RATU swings a free kick to the far post just beyond Adiela KURIKABA who is unable to
make a connection
3′- Its Solomon Islands turn to apply some pressure as an Audrey JACK free-kick is hit into the Fiji penalty area but Ana Maria KARIKARI makes a comfortable catch to quell the
5′- Kinisimere VANUA the goal hero against Papua New Guinea is in the thick of the action forcing a good save from Solomon Islands goalkeeper Betty SADE
6′- RATU rifles in a powerful shot at SADE but the keeper makes a regulation save – Fiji are taking this game by the scruff of the neck
7′- SADE is called into action as the ball bobbles about the Solomon Islands penalty area – VANUA shoots for Fiji but SADE dives headlong at her feet to block – a brave and
courageous save by SADE!
8′- Corner to Fiji – but RATU wastes the chance
10′- Its all Fiji as Unaisi VATULILI shoots narrowly wide of SADE’s right-hand post
6. Adiela KURIKABA powers home a header from 10. Asena Ratu REBA’s pinpoint cross!
13′- An incredible turn of events as Cook Islands lead Papua New Guinea 1-0 in the other Group A fixture…if things stay the same Fiji and Papua New Guinea will still qualify for
the semi-finals – Solomon Islands must score twice and win this match to stay in Samoa
15′-Solomon Islands Margaret BELO takes a dangerous free kick but KARIKARI saves
17′-Fiji continue to dominate this match – everytime Solomon Islands break forward they lose possession in the top third of the pitch
21′- Fiji are playing at a very high tempo and win a free kick 25m out and Asena Reba RATU steps up…
22′- The shot flies in and SADE saves and its a Fiji corner – the ball is whipped in by RATU, SADE flails at the ball at the far post and luckily for Solomon Islands the ball is
deflected off YABAKIDRAU and its a goal kick
25′- A crunching challenge leaves Fiji midfielder Unaisi MOCE on the ground clutching her head – that looked painful and she is escorted from the pitch
29′- YELLOW CARD
Solomon Islands striker 17. Prudence FULA is punished for her part in the challenge on MOCE
29′- YELLOW CARD
4. Alisi MEREDANI of Fiji goes into Jacques AVERII’s book for pushing FULA
31′- Fiji seem to be winning the physical battle in midfield with Diane JUSTUS and Samantha MAELAUA having a tough time retaining possession for Solomon Islands
35′- Margaret DAUDAU is injured after a tough tackle from Fiji’s MOCE – the resulting free kick flies in but the danger is mopped up easily by 12. Lynette PEARCE of Fiji
6. Margaret DAUDAU is replaced by 15. Crystal ANNIE for Solomon Islands
39′- Fiji cut into the Solomon Islands penalty area and RATU shoots but the danger is cleared
41′- News filtering across Toleafoa J.S.Blatter Football Field that Papua New Guinea have taken a 2-1 lead over Cook Islands – if the results stay the same Fiji
and Papua New Guinea will progress to the semi-
44′- Unaisi MOCE shoots from distance with an audacious lob and SADE is scrambling as the ball crashes into the base of Solomon Islands post and is cleared!
— 1 minute time added on —
45’+1 – Adiela MEREDANI breaks through one-on-one with SADE as Brenda MASAE gives hot pursuit…MEREDANI shoots and SADE makes a dramatic and timely save on the edge of the 18 yard
HALF-TIME: SOL 0 FIJ 1
46′- The match restarts with Fiji continuing from where they left off – attacking Solomon Islands goal
47′- If Solomon Islands want to stay in this competition they will have to do something very special and do it soon – the match has passed by Layda SAMANI – can she produce a
moment of brilliance to change her team’s fortunes?
48′- Fiji burst into the Solomon Islands penalty area but the cross cutback by VATULILI whizzes past everybody and the danger is over
6. Adiela KURAKABA makes it 2-0 Fiji after scything into Solomon Islands penalty area before shooting at Betty
13. Samantha MAELAUA is replaced by 8. Betty MANUU for Solomon Islands
54′- Solomon Islands need to do something special to retrieve this situation as their South Pacific Games/Olympic Games hope start to fade – but its difficult to see how
they can find a way past this very fit, very strong and technically gifted Fiji team
56′- Prudence FULA has the best chance of the match for Solomon Islands but Ana Maria KARIKARI produces a great save to keep Fiji in control
58′- Solomon Islands find their way into Fiji territory with Prudence FULA making a determined run into the Fiji penalty area but the danger is cleared
59′- Solomon Islands bring possession out of Fiji’s third and spray it along their back four as Fiji press the game out of their defensive third
60′- Solomon Islands are doing their level best to keep getting the ball forward and they’ve won a free kick outside the Fiji penalty area on the left.
61′- Brenda MASAE swings the ball in and FULA shoots the ball deflects and its a corner – Solomon Islands need a goal and they need it now
62′- The corner is punched in the air by KARIKARI and reclaimed at the second attempt
6. Adiela KURIKABA finishes off a sweet move after Unaisi MOCE beats Brenda MASAE for pace before delivering an inviting cross into the path of KURIKABA
65′- Betty SADE is called into action again for Solomon Islands denying VANUA
66′- Solomon Islands South Pacific Games and Olympic Games dreams look to be over now with Fiji in total command of the match
15. Jilijila DUGUCANAVANUA is replaced by 8. Radilaite MARAMA for Fiji
Coach Farouk JANEMAN can afford himself a small smile as Fiji head for the semi-finals with a 1005 winning record
7. Mary BOE is replaced by 14. Janet ALUFURAI for Solomon Islands
69′- Solomon Islands make another substitution but the body language of the players suggests the game is up
4. Alisi MEREDANI is replaced by 7. Vulolo Anaisi TORA
71′- On the positive side of the ledger for Solomon Islands Elise RINGI has played a good match for her country this morning at centre back against the toughest team in the
73′- Layda SAMANI performs some wonderful trickery on the ball and releases Prudence FULA and she is tackled by PEARCE and its a corner
74′- The corner poses no danger to Fiji’s goal and its a goal kick
77′- Solomon Islands win a second corner and again the opportunity is wasted
10. Asena Rebu RATU is replaced by 5. Sera TALANAVULA of Fiji
81′- Best chance for Solomon Islands when substitute Betty MANUU goes around KARIKARI but RAVAI clears off the line and it stays 3-0 to Fiji
82′- Papua New Guinea still lead Cook Islands 2-1 – Fiji will qualify for the semi-finals as winners of Group A with Papua New Guinea as runners-up
88′- Solomon Islands Betty MANUU fires a corner into the side netting as this match heads toward a quiet end
89′- Papua New Guinea lead Cook Islands 4-1 and the final placings in Group A are all but academic as Farouk Janeman and Francis Moiyap contemplate their semi-final opponents as
Tim Jerks and Timothy Inifiri watch their South Pacific Games/Olympic Games hopes come to an end
— 3 minutes time added on —
90+1′- Radalaite MARAMA shoots on target and Betty SADE saves
90’+3 – Referee Jacque AVERII blows for fulltime and its all over! Fiji have qualified for the semi-finals with a perfect four wins from four matches…for Solomon Islands it’s
farewell to Apia as they head home
FULL-TIME: SOL 0 FIJ 3
XIII SOUTH PACIFIC GAMES – SAMOA 2007
Women’s Group A
Match Day 5 – 1000 – 3 September 2007
Toleafoa J.S. Blatter Football Fields – Apia – Samoa
SOLOMON ISLANDS: 1. Betty SADE [gk]; 2. Audrey JACK; 3. Brenda MASAE; 4. Margaret BELO; 5. Elise RINGI; 6. Margaret DAUDAU (15. Crystal ANNIE 39′); 7. Mary BOE
(14. Janet ALUFURAI 67′); 9. Diane JUSTUS; 11. Layda SAMANI; 13. Samantha MAELAUA (8. Betty MANUU 54′); 17 Prudence FULA.
Coach: Timothy INIFIRI
Substitutes not used: 12. Belinda SUSANA; 16. Hellen SIKAWENE; 20 Annie GELI [gk].
Injured: 10. Vanessa INIFIRI.
Not available: None
Cautions: 17. Prudence FULA (29′).
Red cards: None
Goal scorers: None
FIJI: 2. Mereoni YABAKIDRAU; 3. Vika SADRAU; 4. Alisi MEREDANI (7. Vulolo Anaisi TORA 69′) 6. Adiela KURIKABA; 10. Asena Reba RATU (5. Sera TALANAVULA
80′); 11. Kinisimere VANUA; 12. Lynette PEARCE; 13. Unaisi VATULILI; 15. Jijilia DUGUCANAVANUA (8. Radilaite MARAMA 66′); 17. Unaisi MOCE; 19. Kinisimere RAVAI.
Coach: Farouk JANEMAN
Substitutes not used: ; 9. Laisana MATAELE; 14. Mereani GALO; 16. Margaret MORRIS; 18. Naomi REGU; Ana Maria KARIKARI [gk].
Injured: 1. Lice WAQAILITI [gk].
Suspended: None< br/>
Not available: None
Cautions: 4. Alisi MEREDANI (29′).
Red cards: None
Goal scorers: 6. Adiela KURAKABA (11′, 49′, 63′).
Referee: Jacques AVERII (TAH)
Assistant Referee: Raimana TAUOTAHA (TAH)
Assistant Referee: Nawen HOPKEN (VAN)
Fourth Official: Salaiau SOSONGAN (PNG)