By Willie Lovai, Port Moresby 2015 Games News Service
PORT MORESBY, July 16 – Papua New Guinea grabbed gold in the Pacific Games women’s soccer final for the fourth consecutive time with a 1-0 win against New Caledonia at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium on Thursday.
Marie Kaipu (PNG) was the matchwinner for PNG, scoring from close range midway through the first half to send the home fans wild.
It meant New Caledonia was runner-up for the second successive Games, following its 2-1 defeat to PNG in the Noumea 2011 gold medal match.
PNG proved to have the upper hand in size and strength, making it difficult for the New Caledonian side to add to the 21 goals it had scored in its previous four matches at Port Moresby 2015.
Tournament leading scorer Christelle Wahnawe (NCL) had bagged 10 of those – including three hat-tricks – but she found PNG goalkeeper Fidelma Watpore in fine form.
The first half of the match was even and action-packed with chances at both ends, but only Kaipu could break the deadlock.
She tapped in the game’s decisive goal after goalkeeper Honorine Pouidja (NCL) failed to hold on to a shot from Yvonne Gabong (PNG).
PNG played more defensively in the second half to protect its lead, and it proved too strong and resilient for its skilful opponent to break down.
The host could have made the scoreline even more comfortable – Pouidja thwarting Meagen Gunemba (PNG) in a one-one-one – but in the end one goal was sufficient to secure a fourth straight title.
PNG remains the only team to have won the Pacific Games women’s soccer tournament in its history.
GNS wl/kd for more information visit www.portmoresby2015.com