New Zealand wins, but PNG walk off with heads high

11 April, CANBERRA - Papua New Guinea lost their second match of the tournament to New Zealand 5-0 tonight, but they gave their more fancied opponents something to think about ahead of their do-or-die clash with hosts Australia this Sunday.

PNG were two goals in arrears with just over ten minutes gone, but instead of wilting and letting the New Zealanders run away with another one-sided match, they held firm and kept their opponents scoreless for the remainder of the half.

PNG went into half-time with their heads up and confidence high. But after the break, New Zealand steadily broke PNG down in the middle period of the second half with star player Maia Jackman scoring a brace of goals, adding to the goal she scored in the first half to notch up yet another impressive hat-trick. Priscilla Duncan finished the scoring in the 68th minute, but to PNG's credit they were able to stem the flow of goals and hold on to a respectable 0-5 loss.

While it was a convincing win in the end for New Zealand, an improvement is on the cards if they are to pose a threat against the rampant Australia Matildas, who had the bye for tonight's fourth round of the 2003 OFC Women's World Cup Qualifying Tournament. Another cause for concern for New Zealand is the ankle injury to Melanie Edwards late in the game which may force her out of Sunday's finale.

PNG can take outright third place with a win in their final match against Samoa on Sunday, while New Zealand needs to beat Australia to qualify through. Both Australia and New Zealand have each recorded three wins a piece but the Matildas are ahead on goal difference and only require a draw to win the tournament and the right to represent Oceania at the fourth World Cup in China this September. Australia have been simply awesome throughout, but nobody will be counting out New Zealand, who have impressed and have the firepower to cause the Matildas problems. Playing Australia with so much hinging on the result will also motivate players to raise their game. With much on the line and the traditional rivalry between the two countries, Sunday's match between Australia and New Zealand is shaping up to be a thriller.

5-13 April 2003: Belconnen Soccer Centre, Canberra, Australia

Game One - Friday 11 April 2003

NEW ZEALAND 5 (Nicola Smith 7', Maia Jackman 12', 47', 59', Priscilla Duncan 68')

Halftime score: 0-2

Kickoff: 4.30pm
Weather: Fine, gusty, 18°C
Pitch condition: Very good flat grassy surface

Match Officials: Referee - Krystyna Szokolai (AUS), Assistant Referees - Gray Vuke (VAN), Ben Lamana (SAM), Fourth Official - Tammy Ogston (AUS)

Attendance: 250 approx

PAPUA NEW GUINEA Lineup: Roxanne Komeng (GK), Judith Michael, Wanting Yagum (capt), Josephine Waiwai (Jocelyn Komeng 46'), Miriam Lanta, Priscilla Konalalai, Glenda Matthies, Neilen Limbai, Tracey Kig (Lydia Banabas 46'), Julie Alau, Nakere Nombe.
Unused Substitutes: Tokoe Norrie, Frederica Apeh, Diane Tasion.

Cautions: nil
Expulsions: nil

NEW ZEALAND Lineup: Yvonne Vale (GK), Jane Simpson, Priscilla Duncan, Teresa McCahill, Maia Jackman, Nicola Smith, Hayley Moorwood (Michele Keinzley 65'), Simone Ferrara (Wendi Henderson 59'), Melanie Edwards, Rebecca Smith (capt) (Kelly Jarden 65'), Zarnia Cogle.
Unused Substitutes: Melissa Ray, Rachel Doody, Katherine O'Meara, Rachel Howard.

Cautions: nil
Expulsions: nil



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