The big boys of Oceania football maintained their 100% winning records today with Fiji, New Caledonia, and Solomon Islands all recording victories at the XIII South Pacific Games – Samoa 2007.
Meanwhile, in the all-Samoa derby, it was the host nation led by Chris Cahill who won through comfortably against a gallant yet ultimately beaten American Samoa by 7-0.
Solomon Islands triumphed 4-0 over Tonga thanks to two-goal hero Commins Menapi. The veteran striker was in deadly form in front of goal despite the heroics of Tonga goalkeeper Kavakava Manumua
(pictured below, diving at Faarodo’s feet) who had a strong match. Another fine performer was Henry Fa’arodo, the dreadlocked wide midfielder at the centre of Solomon Islands devastating attacks.
Fa’arodo added the third for Solomon Islands on 51 minutes.
Another New Zealand-based midfield man Alick Maemae capped off a satisfying afternoon for his team with a neat shot inside the penalty area on 66 minutes. The shock of the day occurred when Tuvalu
held New Caledonia to a respectable 1-0 defeat despite losing their first match 16-0 to Fiji on Match Day 1. Tuvalu coach Toakai Puapua declared himself satisfied with the result. “This was
important for us to win back some pride and our team is very happy with the performance and result. The goal came from a mistake by our goalkeeper but otherwise we are happy,” Puapua said.
New Caledonia coach Didier Chambaron was less than happy with the result and performance but could point to the tragic death of Marius Mapou’s father just two days beforehand – a huge shock to the
entire squad. Fiji sit on top of Pool A after a hard-fought 4-0 win over a highly organized and disciplined Cook Islands. Osea Vakatalesau scored from the penalty spot after 18 minutes. Cook
Islands were reduced to ten men when Daniel Shepherd was sent off for a second bookable offence on 39 minutes.
Fiji’s Taniela Waqa blasted a ferocious free kick past the Cook Islands wall from 25m giving Cook’s goalkeeper Tony Jamieson no chance. Josaia Bukalidi (62’) and Malakai Kainihewe (83’) rounded off
a satisfying evening for Juan Carlos Buzzetti and his team. Cook Islands coach Tim Jerks was disappointed with the result and felt the score line flattered Fiji.
“I would’ve accepted 2-0 before the match and felt the team played to instructions, they were disciplined and well-organized, I was very proud of them,” Jerks said. In the battle between host
nation Samoa and arch-rivals American Samoa it was the hosts led by Chris Cahill who reigned supreme in an entertaining match watched by a crowd of just over 2,000.
Penitito Tumua (pictured above) opened the scoring after 24 minutes with talented striker Desmond Faaiuaso adding a second on 29 minutes. Skipper Chris Cahill scored Samoa’s third on 43 minutes.
Tumua grabbed his second goal on 51 minutes with Damian Fonoti (61’), Chris Cahill (67’) and Junior Michael (76’) completing a satisfying night for the host nation.