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PNG, Vanuatu games awarded to opponents while NZ tops U19 group

There is still no explanation on why Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea missed out on their group matches of the OFC U-19 Championships. The Oceania Football Confederation have awarded the games to their opponents.

While the Group B and C drama ensued, Group A was decided as New Zealand beat Solomon Islands 6-0 to become Group leaders.

In a statement, the OFC confirmed that Fiji and Tahiti’s OFC U-19 Championship 2022 Group B fixtures v Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia respectively and Samoa’s Group C fixture v Vanuatu will not be rescheduled.

In Group B, Papua New Guinea was to play Fiji on September 8 at 5pm local time and Tahiti on September 11 at 8pm local time.

In Group C, Vanuatu was scheduled to play New Caledonia on September 8 at 2pm local time and Samoa on September 11 at 2pm local time.

However, the Vanuatu Football Federation (VFF) and Papua New Guinea Football Association (PNGFA) were unable to fulfil their fixtures. All  four games will not be rescheduled.

“In accordance with Article 7 of the OFC U-19 Championship 2022 Regulations, Fiji and Tahiti will be awarded 3-0 victories and the resultant three points from their abandoned Group B fixtures with Papua New Guinea,” said the statement.

Picture: Solomon Islands Football Federation
New Zealand have secured the top spot in Group A after a comfortable 6-0 win over Solomon Islands. Picture: Solomon Islands Football Federation

“New Caledonia and Samoa will also be awarded 3-0 victories and three points from their abandoned Group C fixtures with Vanuatu. The matter is now being referred to the appropriate bodies.”

New Zealand v Solomon Islands

New Zealand have secured the top spot in Group A after a comfortable 6-0 win over Solomon Islands.

A brace apiece from Kian Donkers and Adam Supyk ensured New Zealand will receive a favourable draw in the quarter-finals. The Solomon Islands are also into the final eight as runners-up.

While both teams were already assured of a place in the knockout phase before kick-off each were hoping to claim top spot and a quarter-final clash with one of the best third-placed nations.

The Solomon Islands looked to press New Zealand early on but had goalkeeper Junior Petua to thank for keeping the game scoreless after he denied Jay Herdman and Donkers.

New Zealand celebrate scoring against the Solomon Islands at the OFC U-19 Championship 2022. Picture: OFC Media
New Zealand celebrate scoring against the Solomon Islands at the OFC U-19 Championship 2022. Picture: OFC Media

However, Petua could do little to stop New Zealand’s opener. A slip from centre-back Wilfred Mani allowed Donkers to stride through and finish with ease for 1-0.

The Solomon Islands continued to threaten, with Billy Afi heading over a golden opportunity which was punished immediately at the other end.

Substitute defender Solomon Sale had been on the pitch for less than a minute before tripping Noah Karunaratne in the box and Donkers slotted the penalty away to give New Zealand a 2-0 half-time lead.

A last-ditch tackle from Marco Lorenz denied Junior Rocky a chance to pull one back for the Solomon Islands early in the second period.

New Zealand took advantage almost immediately, with Supyk smashing home at the near-post to finish a slick team move.

The left-back turned provider for the fourth, crossing for his opposite full-back Everton O’Leary to roll into an empty net as New Zealand took complete control.

Supyk continued to terrorise the Solomon Islands defence with his stepover and finish stretching the advantage to 5-0. Fin Conchie added a sixth late on to put the final gloss on New Zealand’s performance.

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