American Samoa holds Cook Islands to 0-0 draw
The more fancied Cook Islanders were presented with ample opportunities but were held out by a resilient young American Samoa team led by impressive goalkeeper, Richie Amisone, who was able to marshal his backline superbly.
The hosts started with the match with a hiss and a roar and managed three genuine shots on goal which just flew over the crossbar in the first half. However, the Cook Islands dominated the second half and upped the ante when the American Samoans began to tire in the dying stages.
But the end result was a fair result with the two sides evenly matched. Under coach Ruben Luvu, the American Samoans have been in camp preparing for this tournament for the past few months, with many of the players having been together since U-15 level. The team were able to rise to the occasion in front of good local crowd of 1,500 that congregated to Tafuna Veteran's Memorial Stadium.
Luvu was reportedly happy with the result given their underdog status in this tournament, but he was disappointed they were unable to carry on from the good first half effort. Round two games start on Sunday (Saturday local time) with American Samoa playing New Caledonia at 4:00pm (local time) and Samoa playing their first match against Cook Islands at 6:00pm (local time). Fiji who were upset by New Caledonia 2-0 have a bye.
Group B matches at the Sunshine Coast in Australia kick-off later today with hosts Australia playing Solomon Islands (2:00pm AEST), Tonga playing Vanuatu (4:00pm AEST) and New Zealand playing Tahiti (6:00m AEST).
Photo: Players and officials shakes hands before kick-off
Last Modified on 20/02/2003 08:58