The Solomon Islands have finished third at the OFC Women’s Nations Cup 2022 after beating Samoa 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the third/fourth playoff in Suva, Fiji.

First-half goals from Samoa captain Monique Fischer and Solomons striker Jemima David meant the sides could not be separated in normal time, with the Solomon Islands winning the shootout in sudden death.

Samoa looked the more threatening early on, Monique Fischer testing Solomon Islands goalkeeper Sylvester Maenu’u.

Sariah Taeaoalii’s electric pace was causing the Solomons trouble and resulted in two great opportunities. Unfortunately for Samoa the pacey forward could only place her attempts wide of the mark.

In what was their last outing of the tournament, Samoa then produced a throwback to their first game in Fiji to give themselves the lead. Samoa skipper Fischer repeated a trick from that opening game against Tonga, hitting a long-range free-kick which cruised into the top corner.

Samoa’s strong start provoked a resolute response from the Solomon Islands. Lisa Solo had an effort cleared off the line before another set-piece saw Batram Suri’s side score a well earned equaliser.

Edith Nari’s dangerous delivery into the box was finished smartly by Jemima David with well-placed left-foot volley to level the scoring.

The Solomon Islands almost immediately took the lead soon after, Ileen Pegi hitting the crossbar after Samoa had failed to clear their lines.

Solomons striker David missed two chances to extend her goal tally for the day, first heading wide from Almah Gogoni’s cross and then slashing another effort off target after breaking the offside trap.

Pegi was next to threaten for the Solomons. The skipper flashed a half-volley wide and forced Samoa substitute goalie Angelique Tuisamoa into a smart save before curling an effort from wide beyond the near-post as the game finished level and went to penalties.

All five of each team’s chosen takers scored, taking the shootout to sudden death where Shontelle Stevens saw her effort saved by Maeu’u, leaving Merina Joe to fire home the winning penalty for the Solomon Islands.

For Samoa, a fourth place finish is their best performance in the tournament since 2003 while the Solomon Islands, who have twice finished as the fourth-placed side, have secured their first ever third place standing.

Post-match thoughts:

Samoa head coach Paul Ifill:

“From where we have been to where we have come to I am really, really proud of them. It wasn’t really our night. We were OK in patches during the game but I didn’t think we did enough to win it.

“Obviously it went straight to penalties and there has always got to be an unlucky loser on the penalties.”

Solomon Islands head coach Batram Suri:

“I feel so proud. The girls they are working hard especially when we went behind and we equalised and I am so proud for them because in Solomons history we have never reached this far and third place is excellent for us as a start.”

Samoa 1 (Monique FISCHER 16’)

Solomon Islands 1 (Jemima DAVID 40’)

Half-time: 1-1

Full-time: 1-1

Solomon Islands win 6-5 on penalties