Day Four Review

The South Pacific Games champions beat Solomon Islands 2-1 today while Tonga edged Fiji by the same scoreline in the afternoon’s other Group B match.
Coach Francis Moyap and his Papua New Guinea players are the second side to book their semi-final berth, following hot on the heels of defending champions New Zealand, who made sure they would make it out of the group stages with an emphatic win over Cook Islands yesterday. In contrast, Fiji’s hopes of progressing are now slim after their second straight loss. They must beat Solomon Islands on Monday and hope the other result goes their way to keep their campaign alive.
Tonga are still in with a good chance of making it through after today’s win but are likely to need another victory against the buoyant Papua New Guineans on Monday to make sure of progressing.
“We are not underestimating Tonga. They are a good side so we have to prepare ourselves well for that game,” says Papua New Guinea captain Deslyne Siniu, who headed in her side’s second goal this afternoon and was joined on the scoresheet by Zeen Limbai.
“We need to polish up on our defence because in the last ten minutes we were a bit disorganised.”
United States-raised Fololeni Siale was one of Tonga’s goalscoring heroes in their stirring come-from-behind win over Fiji and was delighted to have helped the team to their first triumph of the tournament.
“It was really frustrating that we couldn’t score a goal in our last game so this feels great,” she says.
Piuingi Feke, who made a big difference after coming off the bench in the 24th minute, scored a dramatic winner for Tonga with one of the last kicks of the game while Bela Ratubalavu notched the opening goal of the match for Fiji in the 12th minute.
Siale, who moved to America when she was eight and returned to Tonga just a couple of months ago, says the players’ team spirit pulled them through. The 19-year-old thinks they may have even had a little help from above.
“In the States, we normally don’t do prayers but in this team we do them about 15 times a day. We’re all pretty close and it’s like we’re sisters.”
While New Zealand’s passage has already been secured, tomorrow is judgment day for the other sides in Group A.
Tahiti will meet New Zealand on the North Harbour Stadium oval ground, while Vanuatu and Cook Islands will square off on the artificial turf at the adjacent end of the stadium. As all three sides still have a chance of progressing, both games will take place at the same time, kicking off at 3.30pm.
That will also be the case with Monday’s do-or-die Group B matches.
LIVE text updates of every match will be available online at oceaniafootball.com
Tonga vs. Fiji – Match Summary Download PDF
Solomon Islands vs. Papua New Guinea – Match Summary Download PDF
Competition Summary after Match Day 4 Download PDF

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