New Zealand and Tahiti came in as heavy favourites for the matches against American Samoa and the Cook Islands respectively. And on the field both responded positively by qualifying for the quarterfinals of the OFC U-17 Championship.
NEW ZEALAND VS AMERICAN SAMOA
New Zealand had no mercy on American Samoa and did what is expected of them, totally dominating the opponents from beginning to end of the match.
The first goal came in the 4th minute with Jesper Edwards’ header, and in the 11th minute the winger with Brazilian roots Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues scored with a long-range shot.
Playing at a slightly lower pace than New Zealand is expected to, the Kiwis only managed to score again in the 38th minute through Luke Flowerdew – then it didn’t stop there – Matt D’Hotman and Luke Flowerdew scored in the 42nd and 45th minutes respectively for New Zealand to go to the changing rooms with a more comfortable lead.
In the second half New Zealand again took a while to raise the tempo and only scored the sixth goal in the 68th minute again with Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues who finished after a beautiful cross from Eric Suguhara. Then in the 70th minute Luke Flowerdew scored again – and in the 76th minute it was Matt D’Hotman’s turn to score his hat-trick. With 15 minutes left the Kiwis had 8-0 on the scoreboard.
There was still time for Luke Supyk to score from the penalty spot, Luke Flowerdew to complete his poker run, and Matt D’Hotman to score his hat-trick after a individual effort play.
New Zealand now awaits the third matchday in the tournament to confirm which side they will face in the quarterfinals, while American Samoa faces New Caledonia in the final round of the group stage.
TAHITI VS COOK ISLANDS
Tahiti continues its journey to reach a third OFC U-17 championship final and stand alone as the Oceania team (other than New Zealand/Australia) that has played the most FIFA Youth Tournaments. Once again, Coach Raiarii Golhen’s team performed well, dominating Cook Islands from the start to the end of the match.
The first goal came in the 22nd minute with Tiahiti Colombani hitting a beautiful shot from outside the box with no chance for Cook Islands’ goalkeeper Robert Savage.
Tiahiti Colombani himself extended the lead before the break again with a shot from outside the box – the Tahitian No. 10 is only 14 years-old and the second youngest of the entire squad. Keep an eye on this Central Sport prodigy.
In the 53rd minute Tiahiti Colombani appeared again, he dispossessed the opposing defender and gave the assist for Titouan Guillemant to score his second goal in the OFC U-17 championship.
With 3-0 on the scoreboard, Tahiti made several changes in the team, yet they kept looking for the goal, in the 66th minute Tuarii Rota took the rebound from a free kick and scored the fourth goal for the Tama Ura.
Eden Cadousteau scored from a penalty kick in the 74th minute, and Teriitaumatatini Martin scored a beautiful left-footed goal in the 78th minute to complete Tahiti’s rout of Cook Islands.
Now Tahiti will face the second from group A (New Caledonia or American Samoa) in the quarterfinals and Cook Islands plays Vanuatu needing to win or hope for a combination of results to advance to the next round.