Fiji avenged their OFC Women’s Nations Cup 2022 final defeat to Papua New Guinea while the Solomon Islands came up just short against Australia’s U-20 side on the opening day of the Pacific Women’s Four Nations 2022.
Goals from Cema Nasau and Luisa Tamanitoakula earned the Fijian Kulas a 2-0 victory over Oceania champions PNG while Jemima David’s effort for the Solomon Islands could not prevent a 2-1 defeat to the Young Matildas at the Australian Institute for Sport in Canberra, Australia Tuesday.
Fiji and PNG were up first in what was a repeat of July’s OFC Women’s Nations Cup final. On that occasion, PNG broke Fijian hearts, winning 2-1 in Suva to earn a place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Play-off Tournament next February.
PNG are hoping to use this tournament as preparation for those qualifiers, which begin with a clash against Panama in Auckland, New Zealand on February 17. However Fiji, inspired by potential revenge, deserved their opening game victory in the Australian capital yesterday morning.
Nasau was awarded the Golden Ball as best player at the OFC Women’s Nations Cup in July and she again showcased all her ability to give Fiji the advantage in the first-half. The attacking midfielder, who scored Fiji’s goal in July’s final, coolly slotted the ball beyond Faith Kasiray from close range following good hold-up play from Tamanitoakula.
Fiji then put the game to bed late on, Tamanitoakula’s free-kick from the edge of the box deflecting in past the helpless Betty Sam in the PNG goal.
In the day’s second game, Australia’s Young Matildas were made to work hard by the Solomon Islands, who finished third at July’s Nation’s Cup.
The hosts were first on the scoresheet, Avaani Prakesh’s powerful effort dipping over Margret Kofela in the 13th minute.
On the brink of half-time, Batram Suri’s side pulled level, Jemima David’s attempt looping over Grace Wilson in the Matildas goal.
Australia head coach Leah Blayney cleared the bench at half-time, with an almost entirely different XI taking to the field in the second period. It was one of those substitutes who scored what proved to be the winner just minutes after the restart, Ella O’Grady finishing beyond the advancing Kofela for 2-1.
The Young Matildas had chances to extend their lead, Jonti Fisher heading wide from close-range and Rosie Curtis seeing an effort blocked by Edith Nari but the score remained 2-1.
Fiji top the round robin group after match day one with Australia in hot pursuit behind them. The two meet on Friday, November 11 from 5.00pm local time with the Solomon Islands taking on PNG from 10.00am local time.
Games will again be played from the AIS in Canberra and will be livestreamed on the Football Australia official YouTube channel.
The Pacific Four Nations tournament has been made possible through a partnership with the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade’s ‘PacificAus Sports’ program.
Australia and the Pacific share a rich history and deep love of sport and, through PacificAus Sports, Australia works with Pacific partners to unlock this this potential further and create new opportunities for our athletes to train and compete together.
Pacific Women’s Four Nations 2022 match day one:
Papua New Guinea 0
Fiji 2 (Cema NASAU 31′, Luisa TAMANITOAKULA 84′)
Australia U-20 2 (Avaani PRAKESH 13′, Ella O’GRADY 47′
Solomon Islands 1 (Jemima DAVID 45′)