Day Three Review

Today’s other Group A match brought together two teams who suffered opening day losses, Tahiti and Vanuatu, and it was the French Polynesians who opened their account by posting a 5-1 win.
Striker Amber Hearn again led the way for New Zealand, scoring a hat-trick to take her goal tally for the tournament to eight. But she was ably supported by fellow striker Sarah Gregorius, who scored the first goal of her senior international career and added two more for good measure.
Midfielder Katie Hoyle also notched her first ever goal for New Zealand and was joined on the scoresheet by Ria Percival, Abby Erceg and veteran Maia Jackman, who is now just one game away from her 50th ‘A’ international cap.
The game was also special for Football Ferns captain Hayley Moorwood and her family. The midfielder is of Cook Islands descent on her mother’s side and the Moorwood clan had two players to cheer when Hayley’s sister Angela Wallbank entered the field for Cook Islands as a second-half substitute.
Wallbank actually travelled to Auckland as a member of the coaching staff but received a late call up to the bench.
“I wasn’t really expecting it but it was good to have a bit of a run, especially as it was against New Zealand,” Wallbank says. “Our mum said she would be cheering for both teams no matter what and hopefully nana was doing the same. I know a lot of the New Zealand girls and it was great to play against my sister.”
Moorwood was pleased to see her sibling get some game time and was just as happy with the performance of her side. But she says there is still plenty to work on.
“When we play the island teams it’s quite compact in the middle so we were looking to play out wide. I think we did that well at times but we needed to do it more often,” Moorwood says.
“It’s always fun to play against your family and I was really happy for Angela when she came on.”
Hearn and Gregorius were not the only players to notch hat-tricks during the day’s action – Tahiti’s Heimiri Alvarez achieved that feat just minutes before New Zealand took the field when she scored her third against Vanuatu in the 82nd minute. Tiare White and Tihani Tokoragi also found the net while Stephanie Tougen was Vanuatu’s sole scorer.
Vanuatu now have no chance of going through but Tahiti have everything to play for when they meet New Zealand on Sunday. Coach Ralph Apuarii was delighted to see his side get their campaign back on track.
“We have worked a lot to correct our mistakes from the first game against Cook Islands,” he says. “Vanuatu were a fast and physical team but we played well and I thought our captain Mohea Hauata did very well in particular.”
Despite being defeated by 10 goals, Cook Islands are also in with a great chance of making the semi-finals if they can beat Vanuatu on Sunday. Both of Sunday’s games will kick off at 3.30pm, as will the two Group B matches on Monday.
The focus will be on Group B tomorrow when Tonga meet Fiji at 1pm and Solomon Islands face Papua New Guinea at 3.30pm. Both games take place on the outer oval at North Harbour Stadium.
LIVE text updates of every match will be available online at oceaniafootball.com
Tahiti vs. Vanuatu Match Summary Download PDF
Cook Islands vs. New Zealand Summary Download PDF

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