Padio hits brace


RAMONA Padio scored a brace of goals and Selina Unamba added one as Papua New Guinea came back from a goal down to beat Tahiti 3-1 in their final Group A match of the Nations Cup in Kone, New Caledonia, on Saturday.
The win saw coach Peter Gunemba’s side finish on top of the group and means they take on Group B runners-up Fiji who were thrashed 10-0 by group leaders New Zealand yesterday.
The Kiwis meet Group A runners-up and hosts New Caledonia in the other semifinal.
Before the PNG-Tahiti match, everything was clearly laid out. PNG were through to the semis no matter the result and Tahiti had to win to even stand a chance of going through.
And it was the Francophone nation who started the game with a bang. Hanihei Taumaa sent away a shot from just outside the box. PNG goalkeeper Faith Kasiray got her hand to it but couldn’t stop it from going in and the underdogs took the lead just six minutes into the match.
Tahiti then kept control of the match and PNG only had some easily saved shots and despite using their speed well up front, never seemed to threaten much.
Tahiti captain Heimirii Alvarez switched to centre back from striker and did well defensively until the 31st minute.
A shot was saved by keeper Vahinerii Puraga but fell to Alvarez who took too long to clear the ball out of the box. Selina Unamba pounced and struck it into the far top corner to draw PNG level (1-1) by halftime.
In the second half, PNG came out starting off strong and had the most of the ball and finally in the 74th minute, PNG got a free kick just outside the Tahiti box.
Padio stepped up and curled the ball low around the wall and into the corner.
In the 83rd minute, Padio was brought down in the box and scored in her second attempt after having to re-take her intial shot becuase teammate Meagan Gunemba had encroached into the box.