The Cook Islands backline did well to hold out Fiji for the first minutes of the game, but after 24 minutes Eseta Sinukula found space in front of her and weaved through the backline before placing the ball into the goal’s back post.
Throughout the match Cook Islands fought hard for the equaliser but found it difficult to score. Fiji’s fitness proved a winning element for the side, as the Cook Islands were shut down up front for the full 90 minutes.
In injury time Dilaisana Drodrolagi scored Fiji’s second goal from the penalty spot for a 2-0 victory.
Despite securing their semi-final berth in their previous match, Cook Islands coach Theresa Tatuava was disappointed not to finish top of the group.
“We knew that we had a place in the semi-final, but that wasn’t going to make us step down and take it easy,” she said.
“We wanted to seal our place and make sure we come away with a win but not everything can go your way at times. No matter how much you prepare yourself, out there it won’t always turn out the way you wanted.
“I’m proud of our girls; they stuck in there and they fought as hard as they could to try and get a goal back but unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”
The Cook Islands will play hot favourites New Zealand tonight at 6:00pm (Cook Islands time) in the semi-final of the OFC U-16 girls championships.
The team is reported to be in good spirits and pass on their regards to their families. - CIFA/OFC release