by Jeremy Mogi – EM TV, Port Moresby
Defending Pacific Games champions and hosts Papua New Guinea defeated a resolute Tonga to finish second in the OFC Women’s Nations Cup in Kokopo.
The win comes after a five one defeat over the Cook Islands and a three nil loss to New Zealand, with PNG finishing the tournament in second place.
Having lost to favourites New Zealand two days prior, the team were banking on fresh legs against a Tongan side who would let 17 goals slip by in their previous matches.
PNG, led by experienced captain Deslyn Siniu in the back were easily the better side, but with half of the first 11 players taken from the U20 youth side, they failed to make any real head way.
Not until 20 minutes into the match did PNG finally get on the score card.
An unfortunate penalty against Tonga saw striker Meagan Gunemba put PNG ahead.
Tonga had rare forays into the PNG half but did hit the target on occasion. PNG on the other hand, when in possession, failed to capitalise, with a number of chances going begging
Eventually it fell to midfielder Marie Kaipu to latch onto the ball outside the 18 yards and steal one past the keeper, to double PNG’s lead. The second half saw a better performance from the home side, but PNG coach Gary Philips appeared frustrated over his team’s lack of cohesiveness.
Again it fell to Midfielder Kaipu to rescue PNG’s blushes as the visitors resolute defence held. Kaipu with a single touch hit the top of the net to send the crowd into rapture.