Samoa impressed a boisterous home crowd with a 4-0 win over Tahiti to claim their first points of the O.F.C. U-16 Women’s Championship.
The second match of the day saw improved organisation from the hosts Samoa who dominated Tahiti to secure a surprising 4-0 victory.
Samoa’s eager attackers pushed the opposing back line to their limit before defender Sina Sataraka finally fired the ball into the back of the net from outside the penalty box in the 12th minute to put her side ahead.
The hosts earned a second goal in the 32nd minute when Madeleen Ah Ki met a corner kick at back post but the game leveled out for the remainder of the half as a tired and satisfied Samoa switched to a more defensive game.
Despite an impressive finish from Nagem Uiagalelei bringing their tally to three in the 65th minute, Samoa continued to play a more conservative game for the majority of the second half and focused on holding out the determined Tahitians until the final whistle.
Late substitute Zoe Ruby gave Samoa the boost they needed in the last minutes of play, following up an attempt from Uiagalelei and squeezing in one more goal in the 84th minute.
The debutants came close to goal on the number of occasions – Vaihei Samin sending countless long-range attempts just over the crossbar – but strong collaboration in the Samoa back line and some outstanding saves from Meripa Seumanutafa meant the hosts kept a clean slate.
Tahiti coach Stephanie Spielmann was heart-broken to see her side’s semi-final hopes dashed, but was pleased that her capable side was able to gain some international experience.
“It’s incredibly difficult for us right now because I think we have a team that has the level to qualify, and to go further in this competition,” she said.
“To lose against New Zealand is normal because they’re really much better than us, but today is really hard because I think that we are better than Samoa – with all respect to them of course.”
“I think that we play a style of football that is interesting, but which we haven’t finished developing. We really lack experience, but we came here to find some more experience.”
Samoa coach Guillermo Schiltenwolf was overjoyed with his side’s execution of their game plan and is feeling more confident ahead their final group match against New Zealand after an all-round performance from his side tonight.
“I’m very, very proud of the girls. I was not expecting 5-0 but they did a fantastic job so I’m really, really proud,” he said.
“We watched the New Zealand and Tahiti game and we targeted some of the Tahiti players. The game plan was to try and focus on those two or three players.”
“The girls showed us – and their people – that they could do it. It was definitely another tough game but I knew we could do the job.”