Day Seven Review

Each side took contrasting routes to get there – New Zealand’s Football Ferns coasted to an 8-0 win over Solomon Islands in their semi-final while Papua New Guinea had a much tougher time of it in their 1-0 triumph against a courageous Cook Islands side.
They will have to face the rampant Ferns in Friday’s final without first-choice goalkeeper Linda Bunaga, who was sent off late on for denying Cook Islands striker Dayna Napa a goalscoring opportunity.
Earlier in the afternoon, young striker Rosie White got the scoring underway for New Zealand in the seventh minute and John Herdman’s side never looked like losing from there. White added another late in the match while second-half substitute Sarah Gregorius also grabbed a brace. Further strikes from Amber Hearn, Ria Percival, Hayley Moorwood and Hannah Wilkinson completed the scoring.
The day was a special one for veteran defender Maia Jackman, who was making her 50th appearance in an ‘A’ international and was given the captain’s armband to mark the occasion.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to get it any time soon,” she says. “It’s always seemed just too far away but I’ve worked really hard and got the opportunity today.”
Jackman says the current Ferns set-up is unrecognisable from the ones in which she played her earlier matches.
“This team is so far beyond what I started with. It’s a whole different style of play. There’s a lot more commitment from the girls and it’s a much more professional environment.”
The 35-year-old had planned to retire after the Peace Queen Cup, which takes place later this month in the Republic of Korea, but those plans are now on hold.
“My body is still going strong so I had a word to the coaches and decided to keep going and take each game as it comes.”
The second match of the afternoon was a tense affair as both teams seemed desperate to keep their World Cup dreams alive. The play sped from end to end at times and each side had their chances to find a winner but it was the more experienced Papua New Guineans who managed to do so, Zeen Limbai bending a corner over stranded goalkeeper Marjorie Toru and straight into the net in the 62nd minute.
“We are delighted with the win but we have lost our goalkeeper so I’m a bit worried,” coach Francis Moyap says.
“We came here with the thought of going into the final with New Zealand and they are the benchmark for us so we will be proud to face them.”
Despite their losses, the tournament is not yet over for Solomon Islands and Cook Islands. The defeated duo will square off against each other on Friday in the play-off for third place which will effectively act as a curtain-raiser to the grand final.
The play-off kicks off at 1pm while the final gets underway at 4pm. Both games will take place on the North Harbour Stadium outer oval.
LIVE text updates of each match will be available online at oceaniafootball.com
New Zealand vs. Solomon Islands – Match Summary Download PDF
Papua New Guinea vs. Cook Islands – Match Summary Download PDF
Competition Summary after the semi-finals Download PDF

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