Papua New Guinea have had an eye-opening taste to the upper echelons of international football with an 8-1 defeat to Asia’s top ranked side Iran in Malaysia over night.
The Kapuls held Team Melli to a 2-0 margin at halftime in Shah Alam and scored just after the halftime break but the class of the Iranian shone through as they scored another six to round out an emphatic score line in torrential rain.
Heading into the game PNG captain David Muta knew it would be a challenge but embraced the opportunity to play such a high ranked team.
“It’s a present to us because they are the champions of Asia and it will be a really big challenge for us,” he said.
“Our coach has told us we have to be strong and we have to believe in ourselves. We don’t have to get scared of anyone,” he added.
Papua New Guinea join the fray of OFC Stage 3 of FIFA World Cup Qualifying in March and are using a two-match tour of Malaysia as vital preparation.
The Kapuls now play Malaysia, who they recently defeated in Port Moresby, on Monday (local time).
FIFA World Cup Qualifying continues in Oceania on Saturday with New Zealand hosting Group A rivals New Caledonia in Auckland. The next day, Solomon Islands and Tahiti continue their push to get a jump on Papua New Guinea in Group B when they clash in Honiara.
For more on Papua New Guinea football visit www.pngfootball.com.pg