Florence Lam Sam was the toast of Samoa on Tuesday as the hosts edged ever closer to a dream final appearance at the OFC U-20 Women’s Championship in Apia.
The striker’s 50th minute goal was enough to see Samoa pip Papua New Guinea 1-0 at the Toleafoa JS Blatter Football Fields in the match of the World Cup qualifying tournament to date.
Samoa’s sweet victory saw them top Group B and avoid heavyweights New Zealand in Thursday’s semifinals.
Group A winners New Zealand will take on PNG while Samoa face Tonga who were beaten 7-0 by the Kiwis in pool play.
Lam Sam snuck in front of PNG goalkeeper Matilda Tomalin to nod home the winner from a Frances Ane corner to send the vocal local crowd crazy.
But PNG made the hosts sweet for their victory, forcing three top saves out of Samoan goalkeeper Kalaponi Leato, including two last gasp tips over the bar late in the game.
Samoa also had the defensive trio of Clare Vitalina Meni, Luisa Tagomoa and Sailau Leuta to thank for getting them out of several close shaves. Samoa and New Zealand remain the only teams yet to concede a goal.
Meanwhile, Fiji ended their campaign on a joyous note after beating New Caledonia 3-0.
Radilaite Marama opened the Fijians account after 52 minutes before Yashreen Begum drove in a 25-yard scorcher.
Savaira Ratu completed the comfortable win when she nut-megged the New Caledonian goalkeeper from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute.
Wednesday is a rest day before the New Zealand-PNG and Samoa-Tonga semifinals at 1.30pm and 3.30pm (Samoa time) on Thursday.
The winner of Saturday’s final will represent Oceania at the August 17-September 3 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Russia.
Oceania U-20 Women’s Championship
Match Day 4 results
Group B –
Samoa 1 (Florence Lam Sam 50) Papua New Guinea 0. Halftime: 0-0.
Fiji 3 (Radilaite Marama 52, Yashreen Begum 77, Savaira Ratu 82 pen) New Caledonia 0 Halftime: 0-0.
Group B P W D L GF GA PTS
SAM 3 3 0 0 7 0 9
PNG 3 2 0 1 9 2 6
FIJ 3 1 0 2 4 9 3
NCL 3 0 0 3 0 9 0
Thursday, April 6
New Zealand v PNG, 1.30pm (Samoa time)
Samoa v Tonga, 3.30pm (Samoa time)