The Solomon Islands men’s team and New Zealand women’s team both remain at the top of the ladders after continuing their winning streaks at the OFC Youth Futsal Tournament at Bruce Pulman Arena in Auckland, New Zealand, today.
After a narrow 3-2 win over New Caledonia, Solomon Islands dominated Samoa to win their second game 8-0. Solomon Islands coach Stanley Puairana was excited to secure another six points but has already turned his focus on his team’s last day of matches tomorrow.
“So far we have 12 points and we’re getting excited about maybe going to the Olympics but we’re still taking it one game at a time, step-by-step. Two games in one day is really hard but I know our players will continue to try their best,” he said.
After defeating Tonga in their earlier match then holding out Solomon Islands for the majority of their first half, Samoa coach Horst Petana was overjoyed.
“I’m very proud. I know the Solomons are a very tough team but we did well to compete and play against them. Credit to the boys, they’ve done an excellent job,” he said.
New Caledonia take home three more points after a loss to Solomon Islands and a win against American Samoa but coach Vincent Vasapolli already has his full focus on tomorrow’s clash against New Zealand.
“Another big day today but our meeting with New Zealand tomorrow will be the big game for us. We used a lot of energy today in our game against Solomon Islands and now we’re all very tired. A victory tomorrow will be very important for our mentality,” he said.
American Samoa coach Tunoa Lui was proud of his side’s effort against New Zealand and New Caledonia but was disappointed to concede so many goals through defensive errors.
“We were impressed with the team’s performance but it’s all the mistakes that are killing us. This game against New Caledonia could have gone either way but we made a lot of mistakes and the boys are a little bit tired so hopefully tomorrow they’re going to regroup and come back again and try and win some games,” he said.
Only lined up with one match on Day two, Vanuatu made the most of their encounter against Tonga and put 16 goals away before the final whistle. After a low-scoring Day 1, coach Richard Lehi was pleased to see an improvement across the court.
“We’re happy with the performance of the boys. We discussed some things last night and this morning on how we are going to play this game and the boys executed what we discussed very well. Tomorrow we’ll have a tough game in the morning against Solomon Islands but we are prepared to give them a challenge,” he said.
After a tough defeat to Solomon Islands yesterday, New Zealand coach Marvin Eakins was pleased to see his players regain confidence and dominate American Samoa.
“It took us a while to actually get into things and it was hard to bounce back from yesterday’s result but the lads have shown what they can do now and I guess the challenge for us it to continue that form in the tough games that are coming up and keep the Solomons looking over their shoulders,” he said.
Although Tonga is yet to earn their first points of the competition, coach Manu Tualau was proud of the effort from his team despite several of his players carrying injuries.
“Our second game of the day was really tough because we have a lot of injuries. It was very tough but I’m still very proud of my team. It is very impressive for us to reach this far. We’re going to look forward to tomorrow and move on from these games,” he said.
In the women’s tournament, New Zealand continued their winning streak despite also carrying several injuries. Although their results weren’t as impressive as the day before, coach Ronan Naicker was pleased with the performances.
“We were struggling a little bit with injuries so we had to manage with that and I think the girls controlled both games really well so I’m happy,” he said.
“Now we’ve got to get through the recovery properly and prepare for tomorrow like we would for any other game.”
Tonga coach Soane Mailangi was overjoyed to secure a win against Samoa and hold New Zealand to single digits.
“I’m so excited about these games. The girls have improved so much from yesterday and you could see that in the way they defended against the best team in the competition. I’m so happy and proud of the girls,” he said.
Samoa coach Valerio Raccuglia was disappointed to concede to Tonga but is feeling confident after seeing the team lift in their second game against AFF Futsal.
“It was good to see an improvement in our second game after our very unpleasant first one. We got it sorted and it was good to finish with a win,” he said.
“I’m always positive, I know what the girls can do and I’m very proud of them at the moment.”
Although AFF Futsal were unlucky to fall short of a win against Samoa in their second match, coach Maxine Cooper was impressed with performances from her side in both matches.
“I was especially pleased with this morning, we gave New Zealand a good run for their money and the girls defended really well against them. I think we just a bit tired this afternoon but I’m really happy with how we went today,” she said.