Oceania Football Confederation > News > 2014 OFC Women's Nations Cup > Eager anticipation for top two clash

Eager anticipation for top two clash

But it’s the afternoon match that is expected to draw the crowd when the hosts Papua New Guinea take on hot favourites New Zealand.
Both sides got off to a winning start in their opening encounters with New Zealand highlighting their intentions with a comprehensive 16-0 romp of Tonga, while Papua New Guinea got off to a shaky start but still managed to secure a 4-1 win over Cook Islands.
With this encounter having the potential to decide the course of this competition neither side is expected to hold back.
Football Ferns coach Tony Readings was able to give 17-year-old Daisy Cleverley her senior debut against Tonga and with her two goals the midfielder proved her worth to the squad.
With a 7-0 lead at the half, Readings was also given the opportunity to rotate his players, taking starters Betsy Hassett, Katie Hoyle and Ali Riley off at half-time and giving three others – Annalie Longo, Amber Hearn and Ria Percival – a run.
Having had this opportunity to see so many of his squad in action in local conditions, Readings is in a good position to set up the best side ahead of this crucial encounter.
Papua New Guinea may have been able to walk themselves to a 3-0 lead at half-time in their first match of the tournament, but they’ll need to work on their stamina and ability to concentrate over 90 minutes if they really want to challenge the Kiwis.
There were some real flashes of brilliance in the squad’s first competitive international in over two years and coach Gary Phillips sees a bright future for a number of the players who are making the step up to senior level.
However like the senior members of the side, they won’t be able to squander their chances in the same way as they did against Cook Islands, because New Zealand is a side that will punish any mistakes to the highest order.
Cook Islands are another side who will be ruing their inability to capitalise on the chances they had, with a heartening second half performance not enough to make up the ground they lost in the first period against Papua New Guinea.
With the opportunity to address those issues ahead of the upcoming match, the Cook Islands could have an edge over their opponents who will require mental fortitude to come back from their beating at the hands of the Kiwis.
Tonga played with their hearts on their sleeves and to their credit didn’t give up despite being outplayed over 90 minutes by the Football Ferns, a side littered with professionals compared with the amateur status of their entire team.
Goalkeeper Lupe Likiliki may feel disheartened to have swallowed 16, but was one of the standout performers in the squad as she plugged a number of holes New Zealand hoped to exploit over the course of the game.
Captain Penateti Feke has a crucial role to play in boosting morale among the players, but with pride on the line Tonga could bounce back quicker than expected.
The opening match marks the first occasion these two nations will have met in the history of this competition. Their most recent previous encounter at senior level was the 2011 Pacific Games when Cook Islands scored a 1-0 victory over Tonga.
Tonga vs. Cook Islands
Kalabond Oval, Kokopo
Monday 27 October 2014
Kickoff: 11.00am
Referee: Amos ANIO [PNG]
The players:
Captain Penateti FEKE leadership will prove vital if this side hopes to bounce back from such a heavy opening defeat. Goalkeeper Lupe Likiliki was given a tough workout against the Football Ferns and will again be crucial to the cause if Tonga hope to earn a more favourable outcome in this encounter.
The vital statistics: 14-year-old Mele AKOLO is the youngest member of the squad and the second youngest player at this tournament. Salome VA’ENUKU has one yellow card after Match Day 1.
Squad list: 1. Lupe LIKILIKI (GK), 2. Ilisapeti MALEKAMU, 3. Heilala LOTO’ANIU, 4. Vea FUNAKI, 5. Salome VA’ENUKU, 6. Toliniko KOFUTUA, 7. Eseta VI, 8. Ofaloto LA’AKULU, 10. Hala’unga TAHOLO, 11. Unaloto TAHITU’A, 12. Rebecca KILMARTIN, 13. Tupou TOPUI, 14. Mele AKOLO, 15. Pauline TONGA, 16. Penateti FEKE, 17. Atelaite MANU, 22. Suliana UTA’ATU (GK)
Coach: Kilifi UELE [TGA]
Coach Quote: “I think we’re still focusing on what we practiced and what we came here which we’ve already informed the girls. We look forward to having a good game in the next game.”
Cook Islands
The players:
Tepaeru TOKA scored the winning goal against Tonga at the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia and will be looking to continue that trend. Lee MAOATE-COX was a rock in defence against Papua New Guinea and fired home the penalty with ease. Her calm, determined style of play will be required against Tonga.
The statistics: The average age of this squad is just 21 which bodes well for their 2015 Pacific Games campaign. The youngest member of the squad is Moeroa HARMON who is also the youngest participant at the 2014 OFC Women’s Nations Cup. She is yet to make her senior debut.
Squad list: 1. Imelda VAKAI (GK), 2. Linade UNUKA, 3. Moeroa HARMON, 4. Rai NGANU, 5. Edwina MATENGA, 6. Jennifer AKAVI, 7. Lee MAOATE-COX, 8. Marissa IROA, 9. Liz HARMON, 10. Mama HENRY, 11. Dayna NAPA, 12. Tepaeru TOKA, 13. Marielle TIARE, 14. Tayla HETHERINGTON, 17. Tekura URARII, 18. Mii PIRI
Coach: Jimmy KATOA [COK]
Coach Quote: “You can see that the girls can play but it’s about getting out there and putting some pressure on them during our training sessions and just trying to mentally prepare them. Tonga was playing against quality players but I think they’re going to come out firing. After giving away some goals, they’re going to want to beat us.”
Papua New Guinea vs. New Zealand
Kalabond Oval, Kokopo
Monday 27 October 2014
Kickoff: 2.00pm
Referee: Finau VULIVULI [FIJ]
Papua New Guinea
The players:
Meagen GUNEMBA celebrated her senior debut with a hattrick, but could have added several more to her tally and is keen to get one against the Kiwis. Fatima RAMA caused problems for Cook Islands out wide, and is sure to do the same against New Zealand. Deslyn SINIU and Dorcas SESEVO were effective in their roles at the back.
The vital statistics: Papua New Guinea have never scored against New Zealand in the history of this competition. Their best result is a 2-0 defeat in 1995, their worst was a 16-0 loss in 1991. Both Deslyn SINIU and Fatima RAMA are sitting on one yellow card following Match Day 1. Meagen GUNEMBA scored three goals in the team’s opening match.
Squad list: 1. Fidelma WATPORE (GK), 2. Michealla KURABI, 3. Yvonne GABONG, 4. Judith GUNEMBA, 5. Carolyn OBI, 6. Grace STEVEN, 7. Barbara MUTA, 8. Fatima RAMA, 9. Deslyn SINIU, 10. Sandra BIRUM, 11. Georgina KAIKAS, 12. Meagen GUNEMBA, 13. Daisy WINAS, 14. Dorcas SESEVO, 15. Zeen LIMBAI, 16. Cathy SAMSON, 17. Marie KAIPU, 18. Rumona MORRIS, 19. Talitha IRAKAU, 20. Lace KUNEI (GK)
Coach: Gary PHILLIPS [AUS]
Coach Quote: “Hopefully with a game under our belts we’ll be a little bit more relaxed. Defensively we scrambled well at times but we just need to keep the ball better. We need to start thinking about New Zealand now and we’ll be working hard to try and come up with a strategy to combat New Zealand. There’s no doubt they’re a quality team, 19th in the world, and we’re the high 100s so we’ve got a massive task but we’re excited by that.”
New Zealand
The players:
The direction from captain Abby ERCEG and her calming influence at the back will be key. The midfield duo of Betsy HASSETT and Katie HOYLE will be key to controlling the flow through the middle while the speed and skills of Rosie WHITE, Meikayla MOORE, Ali RILEY and Ria PERCIVAL out wide will be equally essential to the side.
The vital statistics: New Zealand and Papua New Guinea have met on nine previous occasions over the course of this competition. During that time they have scored 68 goals, and co
nceded none. Daisy Cleverley opened her international senior account in the opening minute against Tonga and scored one more. Helen Collins also opened her account, finding the net three times, as did Sarah Gregorius.
Squad list: 1. Erin NAYLER (GK), 2. Ria PERCIVAL, 4. Katie HOYLE, 5. Abby ERCEG, 6. Rebekah STOTT, 7. Ali RILEY, 9. Amber HEARN, 10. Sarah GREGORIUS, 12. Betsy HASSETT, 13. Rosie WHITE, 15. Meikayla MOORE, 16. Annalie LONGO, 18. Daisy CLEVERLEY, 19. Evie MILLYNN, 20. Helen COLLINS, 21. Rebecca ROLLS (GK), 24. Jasmine PEREIRA
Coach: Tony READINGS [ENG]
Coach Quote: “I think Papua New Guinea will have learned a lot because they had a chance to see us on Saturday, so they’ll have some strategies. They’ve got a good coach and he’ll make it hard for us to break them down. We’ve got a certain way we play and every game we play we’re trying to perfect that as much as we can so we will look at the video from yesterday’s game and see what we can do better in the next one.”

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