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U16 Girls Dream Shattered

U16 Girls Dream Shattered
The Vodafone Fijian U16 striker Emily Rokociri attacks against New Caledonia in the second semifinal of the 2017 OFC U16 Girl’s Championship in Tonga. Photo: Fiji FA Media
August 17
11:11 2017

The Vodafone Fiji U16 Girls football teams dream to feature in the final of the 2017 OFC U16 Championship was shattered when they went down 2-4 against New Caledonia in the second semi-final at JS Blatter Park in Samoa on Tuesday.

The Marika Rodu coached side started the match well. The girls played their hearts out missing few opportunities in the first spell and held their opponents 0-0 at the breather.

The Fijians saw a far closer battle with New Caledonia and ended the first half scoreless but the Francophones stepped up in the second half to win 4-2.

New Caledonia’s first goal came only two minutes into the half when Fiona Ihage connected with a corner and Jackie Pahoa extended their lead three minutes later after receiving a perfect through ball from Marie-Laure Palene.

Katinka Takamatsu got her name on the score sheet in the 64th minute to bring New Caledonia’s tally to three but the Fijians kept fighting and managed to get one back after Emily Rokociri connected with a corner.

Edsy Matao wasted no time after she took the field following Fiji’s goal, using her fresh legs to break through the Fiji backline and bring New Caledonia up to four goals only 10 minutes later.

Both teams lifted in the last minutes of the match as Fiji fought desperately to equalise but despite a final goal from Lusiana Lagilevu closing the margin, New Caledonia’s lead was too high for the Fijians to catch.

Fiji coach Marika Rodu was heart-broken with the result but proud to see his team develops their structure and mentality throughout their tough OFC U-16 Women’s Championship campaign.

“The girls gave their best. In the first half they were too reluctant to push up but congratulations to New Caledonia – I think they were more hungry to make it to the final,” he said.

“We could only stretch the girls so far. They gave their best until the end of the game but we had some injuries and girls playing in strapping. All we can do now is learn from the experience and continue improving.”

He said overall the girls grew from game to game.

“Now we’ll take this experience back home and develop from there.”

New Caledonia coach Matthieu Delcroix was overjoyed to reach the final of the competition and believed the win was well-deserved after another whole-hearted but well-structured performance from his team.

“It feels great to make the final. Last year we lost in the semi-final after a good match against Papua New Guinea because we didn’t score the goals we needed to score,” he said.

“Today was a great performance. From the beginning of the tournament we’ve shown good spirit and we’ve never given up.”

Fiji he said did well and had a good comeback but New Caledonia continued to play and created counter attacking opportunities and that was how they scored.

 

Fiji: 1. Seru Vasuitoga (GK), 2. Avisaki Toro, 5. Eseta Sinukula, 6. Amelia Cevariki, 7. Tabua Likumotovai, 10. Fatima Tabuanitoga, 12. Titilia Waqabaca, 13. Emily Rokociri, 15. Lusiana Lagilevu (C), 16. Dilaisana Drodrolagi, 19. Filomena Racea.

 

Substitutes: 20. Raijel Pasirio (RGK), 3. Viniana Buke, 4. Sovaia Ranadi, 8. Kelera Radanicalia, 9. Losana Bainivalu, 14. Alisi Qereqeretabua, 17. Vani Bainivalu, 18. Ulita Alfred.

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