U20s miss out on semis


PAPUA New Guinea missed out on the semifinals of the Oceania Football Confederation Under-20 Men’s Championships after suffering their second loss to hosts, Vanuatu, yesterday.
Vanuatu’s 3-1 win sees them advance to the playoffs.
Vanuatu and PNG, who needed a draw to keep their dream of qualifying for the Fifa U20 World Cup in Korea intact, were goalless at the break but a red card to Kenneth Pilailo four minutes after the restart changed the complexion of the match.
The home side’s Ronaldo Wilkins converted the resulting penalty and within six minutes, the home side’s skipper Bong Kalo got the crowd on their feet with a sensational volley to double the lead.
A 10-man PNG refused to lay down and when Gabby Yanum bundled the ball over the line from a 77th minute corner, they found reward for their persistence and hoped they could get the point they desperately needed.
However Jayson Thomas extinguished those hopes with Vanuatu’s third in the 81st minute, restoring the two-goal buffer and ultimately confirming a victory that sent them into the semifinals.
PNG coach Peter Gunemba said there were mixed emotions after another close game that got away.
“We still go out happy,” Gunemba said. “We came in with a lot of confidence but it was just bad luck and poor options that cost us.”

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