New Zealand have confirmed their place in the quarter-finals at OFC U-19 Women’s Championship after an 11-0 victory over Papua New Guinea in Suva.
The defending champions got off to the perfect start, taking the lead in only the third minute when Manaia Elliott found space on the right-hand side of the penalty box and her tame shot was spilled into the net by Papua New Guinea goalkeeper Philomena Rugum.
Despite their commitment to working their way back into the match, Papua New Guinea struggled to match the tempo and pace of New Zealand and a flurry of goals half-way through the half confirmed where the three points were heading.
Alexis Cook met a cross from the right from Helen Errington to stoop low and convert, before Errington herself got on the scoresheet with an unmarked header.
A fourth duly followed when Cook side-footed in following a cut-back from Zoe Benson before she herself added a fifth with a low drive having been given far too much space in the box.
Cook completed her hat-trick in the 24th minute when Papua New Guinea’s defence failed to clear the lines and a blocked clearance was volleyed in by the No.12.
Papua New Guinea stuck to it, however, and continued to try and release Nenny Elipas in behind the defensive line to utilise her pace but counter-attacking opportunities were few and far between.
Benson added her second in the 37th minute, when she found space on the left-hand side and drilled a shot high into the roof of the net, giving substitute goalkeeper Glories Miag no chance.
The Kiwis were denied 8th minutes before the half-time whistle when Errington came within inches of her second, striking the inside of the post when well-placed to finish from six yards out.
Papua New Guinea plugged away and got a shot on target in the final seconds of the half, when a cross from the left fell to Elipas and her shot on the turn went straight at ‘keeper Charlotte Eagle.
Just under three minutes into the second-half, Benson completed her hat-trick and gave the Kiwis their 8th when she tapped in from close range following a cross from the right.
Cook added her fourth, when strong play on the left from Benson led to her being found in space in the centre of the box and she duly converted into the top corner with a clipped effort.
Benson then matched Cook with her fourth. After her initial volleyed effort struck the underside of the bar, Benson reacted first in the box and slammed the rebound past Miag in the Papua New Guinea goal.
With twenty minutes remaining Errington added her second with a close-range finish after the ball had been cut-back into her path by substitute Kiara Bercelli.
Papua New Guinea almost clinched a consolation goal when a loose back pass from Charlotte Mortlock found Christie Maneu one-on-one with Eagle but she could only fire straight at the ‘keeper and the resulting rebound was cleared away.
New Zealand finish the group with two wins from two and are well-placed going into the knockout stages as they bid to retain their crown.
As for Papua New Guinea, they now have the chance to rebound from defeat when they face hosts Fiji in Suva on Wednesday.
New Zealand will meet the runners-up of Group C.
Group C’s pecking order became clearer on Sunday when Tahiti drew 0-0 with the Cook Islands.
The tournament winner gains automatic qualification to the 2024 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
Acknowledgement: Match report supplied by OFC Media.
Main photo: New Zealand celebrate scoring against PNG. Photo credit: OFC Media/Phototek.
Watch the highlights in little more than a minute:
Watch the full match
OFC Media streamed the match. You can watch it here:
Game played on Sunday June 25, 2023
New Zealand 11 (Manaia Elliott 3′, Alexis Cook 12′, 20′, 24′ 54′, Helena Errington 18′, 71′, Zoe Benson 21′, 37′, 48′, 56′)
Papua New Guinea 0
Cook Islands 0
New Zealand line-up
Charlotte Eagle, Suya Haering, Ella McMillan, Marie Green, Helena Errington, Manaia Elliott, Lara Colpi, Alexis Cook, Danielle Canham, Rebekah Trewhitt, Zoe Benson.
Subs: Aimee Feinberg-Danieli, Zoe McMeeken, Charlotte Mortlock, Ruby Nathan, Kiara Bercelli, Emma Pijnenburg, Ella McCann.
Head coach: Leon Birnie
Assistant coach: Maia Vink
Physio: Casey Irving
Team manager: Shivanti Anthony
Goalkeeper coach: Tessa Nicol
Sports scientist: Isabella Coombes
Video analysis: Cameron Olsen
The following images have been supplied by OFC Media / Kirk Corrie – Phototek.
Please click on image to open full photo