By Jeremy Mogi – EM TV Sport, Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea and Fiji remain the sides to beat as their opening Group B victories set them apart from their opponents on match day two of the 2016 OFC U-17 Women’s Championship.
For Papua New Guinea, a win was a much-needed boost as they look to cement their position in the championships.
The late match, which kicked off at 7.30pm to accommodate for both Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea arriving late in Rarotonga, was played under lights at the CIFA Academy and started at a blistering pace.
The game was only two minutes old when Belinda Giada chested down and sent the ball into the back of the net with a powerful shot under Vanuatu keeper Ruth Tate.
Despite Vanuatu visiting the attacking end a number of times themselves over the next few minutes, it was Papua New Guinea who found the goal once again, scoring via Anna Malara.
By half time, Giada had collected her hat trick and Papua New Guinea were ahead 4-0.
A fourth for Giada two minutes into the second half propelled her to the top of the Golden Boot rankings and struck a crucial blow to Vanuatu.
Both sides dropped in intensity over the next half hour, with the ball recycling through the midfield.
A couple of quick-fire goals in the 80th and 82nd minutes to substitutes Mercedes Hapoto – who had been on the field for just two minutes – and Selina Unamba took Papua New Guinea out to an impressive 7-0 lead.
A Vanuatu penalty a minute into added time was converted by Annie Gere, which at least restored some pride for Joel Rarua’s side.
Papua New Guinea coach, Margaret Aka, spoke of her relief at getting through the game after her squad only arrived in Rarotonga five hours prior to kick-off.
Topping the pool now remains PNG’s focus.