Women playing football

Samoa and Fiji secure women’s football semi-final spots

cropped DSC02027 | June 15, 2024
Fiji’s Trina Davis was instrumental for her team, scoring a goal either side of half time. Photos: Micah Alvince, Pacific Games News Service

Samoa and Fiji each booked their place in the Sol2023 Pacific Games women’s football semi-finals with commanding 4-1 victories over Tonga and Solomon Islands respectively at Lawson Tama Stadium on Friday to ensure they topped their pools.

Samoa was up first against Tonga, and took an early lead with an impressive opener, but Tonga’s determination saw them equalise, making it 1-1 at the break.

Despite Tonga’s increased chances, Samoa’s solid performance resulted in three more goals in the second half, sealing their spot in the semi-finals.

Tonga now turns its attention to the final playoffs for a last shot at making the semis.

Paul Iffil, head coach of the Samoa women’s national team, expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance, emphasising their work on transitional play.

“It was a really good overall performance from everybody,” Iffil said.

“We’re one step away from the final, but we know that it’s going to be a very, very difficult game, so we’re prepared for that.

“We don’t get much time because we play on Monday, so we’ll probably give the players a day off tomorrow and then we’ll get ready for training on Sunday and the game is on Monday, so it’s a quick turnaround,” Iffil added.

Tonga coach Mark Bell admitted that missed opportunities cost his team.

“We had the opportunity to equalise or even win the game, but Samoa had the willingness to fight more.

“We will just wait for which team to play in the playoffs, and we will keep on fighting for the best possible finish,” Bell added.

The second match saw hostsSolomon Islands score the fastest goal of the Sol2023 Pacific Games, finding the net just 37 seconds after kick-off.

Fiji was quick to respond, leveling the score just two minutes later, setting the tone for an intense showdown.

The turning point of the match came with Trina Davis’ brace, one goal in each half, solidifying Fiji’s lead.

Despite a strong comeback from Solomon Islands, Fiji maintained control in the second half.

Their dominance extended with a fourth goal, causing an upset for the home crowd and sealing Fiji’s ticket to the semi-finals.

Fiji’s coach Angelline Chua expressed her satisfaction with the team’s performance.

“We came here to compete in the tournament, so we took it one match at a time.

“It’s credit to the team that we came out strong and ended (the pool rounds) with another win,” she said.

She confirmed the team’s target is winning gold in the Pacific Games.

Solomon Islands’ women’s football coach, Batram Suri, was not happy with the result.

“I did not expect the performance to be like this,” he admitted. “Despite a promising start, the team failed to maintain their lead, leading to an unexpected turn of events.

“In football, if you score the first goal, you must be organised and focused, or else there is a high chance of a backfire from the opponent side, and that’s what happened to us.

“Fiji had their chances, and they made good use of these opportunities,” he said.

Football now has two rest days on Saturday and Sunday, and the semi-finals for both men and women will be played on Monday at Lawson Tama Stadium.

By Carlos Aruafu, Pacific Games News Service

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