(Photo Credit: OFC Media via Phototek)
AS Academy Féminine have taken a major step towards winning the inaugural OFC Women’s Champions League 2023 in Papua New Guinea.
The New Caledonia side has thumped Fiji’s Labasa Women FC 4-1 with striker Christelle Wahnawe scoring a hat-trick at Port Moresby’s Sir Hubert Murray Stadium.
It’s a second straight victory for AS Academy Féminine, who had stunned pre-tournament favourites Hekari United 2-1 on the opening match day last Thursday.
The result leaves Coralie Bretegnier’s side top of the standings with six points meaning victories over Kiwi FC on Thursday and Koloale FC on Saturday would clinch the title.
For Labasa Women FC it’s a case of what might have been. They narrowly lost their second match conceding a last-minute goal against Koloale FC and had their chances early on today when Sofi Diyalowai and Shanyal Sindhika both had shots on target.
But the Fijian side were ultimately undone by the blistering pace of the AS Academy Féminine forwards and the creative prowess of Alice Wenessia in midfield.
A lovely pass from Jackie Pahoa found Wahnawe unmarked on the six-yard box, and she expertly slotted the ball past a hapless Adi Tuwai in the Labasa Women FC goal for the opener in the 34th minute.
AS Academy Féminine were lightning quick in their transition from defence to attack and Wahnawe with her pace was a constant threat.
The New Caledonian side took control two minutes after the break when Wenessia slotted home after receiving a bobbling ball in the box.
Labasa tried to push more players forward in response but that only left Wahnawe with more space on attack and she had a simple tap in for her second in the 65th minute before beating the keeper with a right footed shot for her hat-trick, two minutes later.
The Fijian side never gave up and were rewarded for their efforts with a goal in the 75th minute when Unaisi Tuberi was on the end of a corner to slot home at the far post.
The result though, a second straight defeat for Labasa Women FC, leaves the Fijian side with little more than pride to play for in their final fixture against Hekari As United on Saturday.
AS Academy Féminine: 4 (Christelle WAHNAWE 34′ 65’ 67′, Alice WENESSIA 47’)
Labasa Women FC: 1 ( Unaisi Tuberi 75’ )