Marie Kaipu was the standout performer in a strong win with five goals and an assist. In the OFC Women’s Nations Cup match that was a replay of the 2015 Pacific Games Final PNG took a little to get going but once they gained speed they never looked back.
(New Caledonia – Papua New Guinea 2-5)
The game started a lot slower than the earlier match between Tahiti and Samoa where we had five goals in the first ten minutes. Here New Caledonia had the first chance before Papua New Guinea scored in the 20th minute.
Marie Kaipu was played through on goal but looked to have missed her opportunity thanks to a poor first touch.
However, she kept her cool and turned around two New Caledonian defenders to slot the ball just under the arm of Lorenza Hnamano in the New Caledonian goal.
The second PNG goal came just ten minutes later and it was once again Kaipu who was at the center of it.
Meagan Gunemba and Kaipu played a few passes between them before Kaipu was sent through. Hnamanao was caught in no man’s land and Kaipu had no problem scoring.
Then Padiu turned from goalscorer to waitress as she served up a lovely cross that found Ramona Padio after a poor touch from a New Caledonian defender.
At the back post, Padio gave PNG a nice 3-0 lead to take into halftime.
- READ MORE: Goals galore as Tahiti and Samoa draw in exciting game
- READ MORE: INTERVIEW: Samoa’s debutant Mariah Bullock on playing for her mother’s country and returning to the pitch
The Maria Kapiu show
The second half lit on fire from the first whistle.
Kaipu spent no time what so ever in getting her hattrick as she raced through and lifted the ball over Hnamano mere seconds into the half.
Two minutes later Kim Maguire was sent through by a lovely pass from Aurélie Lalie. Maguire lobbed Betty Sam in the PNG goal and gave New Caledonia a tiny sliver of hope.
But Kaipu wasn’t done for the day. Gunemba was played through but Hnamano got to the ball. However, her clearance was a poor one and ended up at Kaipu’s feet out on the left hand side. Instead of crossing, Kaipu went for goal and with Hnamano out of position the ball dipped into the goal on the far post.
And the day would get worse for Hnamano. First she went down holding her thigh but was able to carry on after some medical attention. Then Kaipu sent a cross in that dipped over her hands and into the goal for the wingers fifth of the day. Hnamano looked to be hampered by the injury when jumping for the ball and she was taken off the pitch two minutes later and replaced by Dolores Bodeouaro. A very difficult day for the 16-year-old.
In the 92nd minute Sydney Gatha grabbed a consolation goal for New Caledonia but PNG saw out the match in complete control and have secured their Semi Final spot.
All hope is not lost for New Caledonia however as a point could be enough, while a win over Samoa will definitely see them go through as well.