By HENRY MORABANG
The 2016 Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup star for PNG Nicollette Ageva scored four goals to help PNG thrash New Caledonia 7-0 in their second match of the 2017 Oceania U19 championships in New Zealand.
Ageva was originally snubbed by the PNG Football Association because of her association with the Bougainville Football Federation’s link with new soccer body, Football Federation PNG.
However, due to the consistent pressure from soccer fans through social media, PNGFA had a change of heart to allow her to travel with the team.
Originally from Buka, the PNG striker had to move to join her coach Rachel Wadunah in Madang in order to qualify to represent the country.
Ageva scored her side’s second goal after Jacklyn Maiyosi capitalised on some goalmouth disarray to put the ball past New Caledonia keeper Karine Xozame to lead 2-0 at half time.
It was a tough game but with some impressive work in midfield from Ramona Padio which kept the pressure on New Caledonia, who held off their opponents for a good 30 minutes before cracks started to show.
Papua New Guinea came back for the second half hungry for more, and it was midfielder Padio who increased the lead three minutes into the half with a shot that bounced under a diving Xozame.
Ageva added three more in the space of just 10 minutes as New Caledonia struggled to find an answer to the PNG attack.
Maiyosi’s second in the 87th minute secured the 7-0 win for her side.
PNG coach Rachel Wadunah was overjoyed with the performance of her team and pleased to see them make the most of their chances up front.
“I was very happy. Despite the wind against us, we were able to perform well. The girls followed my instructions well and they were finally able to score,” Wadunah said.
New Caledonia coach Kamali Fitialeata was somewhat lost for words at the final whistle, unable to comprehend what happened to his side between the opener and yesterday’s game.
“The wind, the rain, the cold, that was there for both sides today so that’s not really an excuse,” Fitialeata said.
“Maybe the cold was too much for my girls, but I really don’t have the words for today’s performance. We just didn’t play.”
In other game, New Zealand hammered Fiji 9-1 while Samoa and Tonga fought a 1-1 draw.
PNG is now third on the ladder behind Fiji and New Zealand.
By HENRY MORABANG