Photo Credit OFC Media via Christophe Fotozz
The Cook Islands have given themselves a shot at making the semi-finals at the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship in Tahiti.
Tupou Brogan’s side have beaten Vanuatu 2-1 in a closely fought Group B match at Stade Pater in Papeete. The result leaves the Cook Islands needing to beat Fiji in their final Group match on Wednesday Tahiti time to advance to the semis at the expense of the Fijians.
Vanuatu started off the brighter of the two teams and had more of the possession in the opening stanza.
But the Cooks had success on the counter and penetrated on several occasions through the middle of the field.
Tatjiana Areai came close on a couple of occasions to opening the scoring before the Cook Islands finally found the back of the net in the 35th minute. Abrihana Enoka latched onto a ball just inside the box and rifled a right foot shot past Jenifer Homu in the Vanuatu goal.
Enoka thought she had a second goal 10 minutes into the second half when she was put clear, finished well only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. Enoka almost turned provider five minutes later when she twisted and turned the defence on the edge of the box and delivered a lovely cross across the face of the goal, but C-Jay Rimamotu couldn’t quite get the touch to deliver a second goal.
The Cook Islands had another golden opportunity to extend their advantage in the 65th minute after Areai delivered a pin-point accurate cross to substitute Anna Kamikamica who fouled the keeper as she knocked the ball into the net. Kamikamica made no mistake with her finish a minute later rifling the ball past Homu for a 2-0 lead.
Vanuatu looked down and out, but Keren Carlot was recklessly brought down in the box three minutes later and referee Gideon Mamuala had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Philles Moses converted to raise Vanuatu’s hopes of turning the match around.
However the Cook Islands defence held firm in the closing stages and Vanuatu will be left to play for pride in their final Group match against New Zealand before they playoff for the minor placings.
Vanuatu: 1 (Philles MOSES (P) 71’)
Cook Islands: 2 (Abrihana ENOKA 35’, Anna KAMIKAMICA 68’ )