September 27, 2023

PNG lose in World Cup playoff

It wasn’t to be for the Papua New Guinea women’s team, as they fall to Panama.

PNG head coach Spencer Prior talks to the PNG team after the match. (Photo: screen grab)

PNG – Panama 0-2

The CONCACAF side proved too strong for PNG and won 2-0, which could also have been more if it wasn’t for VAR.

Marta Cox opened the game with the first goal after 12 minutes.

It was a wonderful goal as the Panamanian scored with an acrobatic overhead kick.

And it was Panama who would have the majority of the chances, but the second goal would have to wait.

At half-time, PNG were still in the game, with only the one goal conceded, and a few chances created on their own just before the break.

But just past the hour mark, Panama would have their second.

Tanner Riley put Panama two ahead in the 63rd minute with a wonderful dribble past four or five PNG defenders, before putting the ball in the corner.

Panama also had a dissalowed goal in the dying minutes of the match. VAR ruled it out for offisde.

After the match, PNG head coach Spencer Prior had mixed emotions.

“I think the gameplan was well set up in the first half. We could have gone in to half time 2-1 up. I was really proud of the player. We don’t have the depth I would have loved to have, but I’m super proud of all the players,” Prior said.

He’s now hoping the PNG higher ups continue to help the girls build on what is ultimately a good campaign, with the OFC Nations Cup win that allowed them to qualify for the World Cup playoffs.

“I’m hoping there is significant investment in the program, because the potential is there. The players and coaching needs investment in, I think they represented OFC very well tonight. Just keep investing in the program,” Prior said.

Panama goes on to face Paraguay for a spot in the World Cup this summer, while PNG have a friendly against fellow playoff loser Chinese Taipei on Thursday.

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