U19s focused on defence to beat New Caledonia


PAPUA New Guinea coach Rachel Wadunah says despite being on a steep learning curve with the side, she has been impressed with their attitude heading into their second OFC Under-19 Women’s Soccer Championship fixture against New Caledonia tomorrow.
The PNG-New Caledonia is the second of three games scheduled at Ngahure Reserve in Auckland, New Zealand.
Wadunah said her players refused to throw in the towel after their 12-0 opening round loss to hosts and defending champions New Zealand on Tuesday.
“We did the best we could against New Zealand, despite conceding goals. We’ll try to improve in our next match against New Caledonia tomorrow,” Wadunah said.
She said her side struggled against the pace at which the Kiwis played and it was something they would need to counter at the tournament.
“There were times when they would play behind our defenders and we weren’t able to handle them,” Wadunah said.
She said against New Caledonia, the plan would be to shore up the mid-field defence and force the opposition attackers to the edges.
Wadunah said that would make it easier for her side to defend.
Wadunah will be banking on her U20 World Cup players in Nicolette Ageva, Ramona Padio, Margaret Joseph, Selina Unamba, Belinda Giada and Jacklyn Maiyosi to lead the team and implement the game plan.
Padio, who has also played for the national women’s senior side, will be a crucial cog in PNG’s drive to victory but will need to combine effectively with her mid-field in order to maximise and opportunities on attack.
Fixtures: Fri, July 14 – 1000 Fiji v New Zealand, 1230 PNG v New Caledonia, 1500 Samoa v Tonga.

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