Picture : Fiji captain Sofi Diyalowai (16) was elected Player of the match.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA WINNER - FIJI ONLY DRAW
Host nation Fiji were held to a 1-1 draw in their OFC Women’s Nations Cup 2022 opener as two goals in the first-half settled an exciting encounter with the Solomon Islands in Suva. After 22 minutes the Fiji skipper turned provider for the opening goal, playing a perfectly weighted pass to Vanisha Kumar whose powerful shot beat Solomon Islands goalkeeper Margaret Kofela. The opener sent the home fans wild but this was the Solomon Islands’ first OFC Women’s Nations Cup game since drawing 0-0 against the same opponents in 2010. Soon enough, the strong Solomon Islands supporting contingent had reason to cheer. Referee Anna-Marie Keighley pointed to the penalty spot after Jemina David was tumbled over in the box by Unaisi Tuberi. Solomons captain Ileen Pegi stepped up to take responsibility from 12 yards, sending Seruwaia Vasuitoga the wrong way to equalise. The Solomon Islands continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack, but after the high-tempo action in the first-half the second period settled into a less frenetic pattern.
Papua New Guinea captain Meagen Gunemba
Pre-tournament favourites Papua New Guinea have won their opening game of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup 2022 but were forced to work hard to beat a spirited Vanuatu side 3-1 at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva, Fiji. PNG remained dominant in possession and their slick passing paid dividends shortly after the half-hour mark. Vanuatu failed to clear their lines following a sweeping move, allowing PNG captain Meagen Gunemba the chance to play in Marie Kaipu to smash home the opening goal.Vanuatu high-pressing tactic paid off. Replacement keeper Sam’s errand goal-kick landed at the feet of a grateful Vanessa Keletia who duly slotted home an equaliser. Unfortunately that joy was short-lived. A mistimed clearance from Florida Willy allowed PNG through and Ramona Padio outmuscled her marker before hammering home for 2-1 just five minutes later. Charlie Yanding’s brilliant solo effort giving them an unassailable 3-1 lead and all three points from what proved to be a tough opening fixture.