BY ROMULUS HUTA
PAPUA New Guinea has made a strong comeback following Sunday’s opening loss and cruised to a resounding 5-0 victory over Vanuatu in their second Pool A match of the OFC Under-16 Championship yesterday morning at Lawson Tama Stadium.
In their opening match on Sunday against the tournament host, they went down by the same margin. The win yesterday cancelled out all goals conceded earlier and this appeared to have relived their qualification hopes for the semi-final.
Siegfried Beschel gets a double to his name while the other three goals were shared between Renagi Ila, Akaya Wadunah and Morris Devi.
Knowing that a win in this match would relive their pool contention, PNG made a superb start in the first half by getting an early goal through Beschel in the first seven minutes.
The scoreline increased to 2-0 by the 19th minute through Renagi Ila.
Vanuatu improved defending and kept out more threats posed by the PNG forwards and the score remains at 2-0 by halftime recess.
The second half resumed and Devi added his team’s third goal in the 56th minute before Wadunah made it 4-0 with an outstanding strike in the 70th minute.
Beschel completed scoring to make it 5-0 by the 79th minute when he unleashed a screaming shot from a point blank range which came bulging the roof of the net and caught the Vanuatu goalkeeper gasping thin air in the process.
PNG Coach Anthony Pakatota said they went in to win the second match and that paid off.
“We came here to win this game after fixing the errors we have in the first game.
“We wanted really badly to win this game and we have got the result to give us a fighting chance in our last game on Saturday.
“The starting 11 is the same starting 11 from the first game and one of the big things we have worked on is to get the players’ confidence back.
“We had to work on really getting their self-confidence out and getting them to improve their quick recovery in defending and forward playing and we also worked on our decision making interms of passing, final passes and to finishing.
“Yeah for sure we are looking forward to that game. We’ve done a lot of homework for the game against New Zealand and we’re looking forward. So this game is a must-win to give us the fighting chance so we’re looking forward for that,” Pakatota said.
PNG’s final pool match is against New Zealand and a win for them will see them through to the semifinal.
“They are fast attacking team and we’ll prepare well for them. We know they are good at counter and it depends on intelligence to beat them.”
The winless streak in this competition came as a great disappointment for the Joel Rarua-coached side that still have a match to spare which is against the host nation this Saturday.
The two losses mean that Vanuatu is not out of contention for a place in the semi-final with the only possible thing left is playing for pride in the final match.
Rarua said: “We worked hard today but unfortunately PNG were stronger with quick counters and our boys were bit slower otherwise our boys did their best with ball possession and attacking.
“We are here for the competition and the boys will be ready for the last game.”
PNG’s final game is on Saturday against New Zealand while Vanuatu will play Solomon Islands in the later fixture of the day.