(Photo Credit OFC Media via Phototek)
Tonga and the Solomon Islands are in the box seat to secure the two remaining semi-final places at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament – Oceania Qualifier in Apia, heading into the final Group matches on Tuesday.
In Group A, already qualifying Fiji face the Solomon Islands while Papua New Guinea (PNG) meet American Samoa. Batram Suri’s Solomon Islands side will progress to the final four as runner-up to Fiji with a draw and will top the Group with victory.
“It’s a big game. I approach the match not to lose, so more defensively than to attack and I hope the strategy will work.” Suri said. “We know what we have to do to make the semi-finals.” He added.
The final Group matches are played simultaneously, with Papua New Guinea needing to beat American Samoa by at least eight goals, while hoping Fiji account for the Solomon Islands.
PNG coach Eric Komeng says they just have to be positive in what they do.
“If it goes our way, we are going to take it at both ends. We just have to hope Fiji beat the Solomons and maybe have a chance to show our class against New Zealand.” (In the semi-finals.) Komeng said.
Both matches kick off at 11am (Samoa time).
Group A is all about hosts Samoa and Tonga. The Polynesian rivals are fighting for the runner-up spot in the Group with already qualified New Zealand to meet Vanuatu who are out of semi-final contention.
Samoa must win to progress to the semi-finals on home soil, while Tonga by virtue of their superior goal difference, need a draw.
16-year-old attacker Malia Jessup sums up Samoa’s approach to the match.
“I think we just need to be structured and choose out moments to attack.” Jessop said.
“I don’t think we are that nervous, we have lots of hype going on and everyone’s really excited so it’s going to be a good game.” Jessop added.
Tonga captain Daviana Vaka says they will play to win.
“We know Samoa is very aggressive, so we are prepared for that, but having that winning mentality and knowing it’s a winnable game. It’s definitely a rival game and we are very excited.” Vaka said.
Both Group B matches kick off at 4’o’clock.
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Match Day 3
Tuesday, February 13 (All times Samoa)
Solomon Islands v Fiji, 11:00am | WATCH LIVE
American Samoa v Papua New Guinea, 11:00am | WATCH LIVE
Tonga v Samoa, 4:00pm | WATCH LIVE
Vanuatu v New Zealand, 4:00pm | WATCH LIVE