American Samoa were the belles of the XIII South Pacific Games Women’s Football Tournament ball tonight in Apia after they scored an upset 1-1 draw with Cook Islands tonight, securing their
first ever goal and first ever point in international women’s football. Jasmine Makasini was the hero for American Samoa with the 14-year-old youngster seizing on a moment of hesitation
in the Cook Islands defence to scramble home an equaliser that left goalkeeper Heimata Heather helpless as it trundled into the net from more than 20m out.
The result hardly changed the pecking order of Pool A but gave American Samoa the morale-boost it was looking for after a difficult opening day defeat to Papua New Guinea. Cook Islands were
left deflated by the performance and result after spurning chance after chance in a first-half in which American Samoa hardly got over the halfway line.
Coach Tunoa Lui was delighted with the result. “We were very excited when the equaliser went in this has given everyone a lift and is positive for the game in American Samoa. We had two
14-year-olds out there and they gave everything,” Lui said.
Cook Islands coach Tim Jerks was in sombre mood following the final whistle. “We can play much better than that and you can see the players were disappointed with the
performance. We missed good chances in the first-half and then failed to work hard enough in the second-half to win the match,” Jerks said.
In the other match in Pool A, Papua New Guinea had to survive a torrid opening 10 minutes against a fired up Solomon Islands team. Lydia Banabas gave Papua New Guinea the lead after 12
minutes. Banabas added a second just before halftime as Solomon Islands earlier fight began to wane.
Second-half substitute Cathy Agunam arrived on the scene after 63 minutes and scored with a powerful header just two minutes later for the third goal and was in the action after 72 minutes
when she drove a scintillating shot past Betty Wade to make it 4-0. Papua New Guinea coach Francis Moiyap was happy with the result and performance. “Our midfield is our
strength and we play together a team. I am happy with our performance and our first game under floodlights and we handled it well” Moiyap said.
FULL DETAILS OF XIII SOUTH PACIFIC GAMES CAN BE READ AT: