Tonga stun Solomon Islands in opening match at OFC U16 Women's Championship

September 14, 2023 4:05 pm

[Source: OFC Media via Christophe Fotozz]

A spectacular five goal performance from Tamaa Faletau inspired Tonga to an impressive 5-1 win over the Solomon Islands in the opening Group A match at the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship at Stade Pater in Papeete.

Patrick Miniti’s side has delivered a performance full of passion, hard work, and some electric pace and skill up front to stun the Solomon Islands. Time and time again the Tongan attackers were able to get in behind the Solomons defence and were a constant threat.

Crystal Sime had a glorious chance to put Tonga in front in the 6th minute after sprinting clear of the defence, her right footed shot forced a superb save from 14-year-old Solomon Islands goalkeeper Fiona Goroani.

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It was a sign of things to come as Mele Falekakala made several dangerous runs down the right-hand flank including in the 25th minute when after another brilliant cross from Falekakala, Sime fired straight at the keeper from inside the six-yard box. The Tongans didn’t have to wait long to deservedly go in front though. A minute later Tamaa Faletau fired a brilliant right footed shot from the edge of the box into the left-hand corner of the net. It was the start of things to come from the young striker.

The Solomon Islands players were shell shocked and four minutes later the Tongan vice-captain had a double after the ball bobbled around in the box from a corner, she thundered the ball into the back of the net. Five minutes before the break and Faletau had her hat-trick with a beautiful chip over the advancing Goroani in the Solomon Islands goal.

The Solomon Islands started the second half with more purpose going forward as they searched for a way back into the game. But they struggled to penetrate a solid Tongan defensive line and failed to muster any shots that troubled Ana Kafoa in the Tongan goal.

Faletau scored her fourth goal 9 minutes into the second spell when she busted clear of wood be tacklers and floated the ball past Goroani and into the back of the net from outside the box. Five minutes later she chipped the keeper again, from an acute angle for her fifth goal of the match.

The Solomon Islands finally had some reward for their endeavours in the 74th minute when substitute Gracester Kini finished a brilliant individual effort to finally beat Ana Kafoa in the Tongan goal.