Cooks U16 return home winless

Monday July 23, 2018 Written by Published in Soccer

Cook Islands ended their OFC U16 Championship Qualifier campaign without a win after going down to American Samoa 1-3 in the final match last week.

 

The national side, which arrived home over the weekend, had lost its earlier matches in the tournament, going down to Samoa 0-3 before drawing with host Tonga nil-all.

Despite another performance worthy of more than a 3-1 loss against American Samoa, Cook Islands coach Anthony Samuela said that over the course of the competition he still had some positives to take home.

“The first 10 minutes of the game we were in there, but we just didn’t put it in the net again,” said Samuela.

“Really we need to go home and keep training for the future, but we were strong in defence, which is a positive. The boys really worked hard too.

“They keep fighting until the last whistle and that’s good to see from the boys.”

Cook Islands looked impressive at the start in the final match against American Samoa, with greater organisation at the back and strong passing.

The team looked like they might be capable of opening the scoring at certain moments throughout the first 30 minutes.

However it was American Samoa who had that honour.

A foul in the penalty area led to referee Ben Aukwai of Solomon Islands pointing to the spot, and American Samoa captain Gabriel Taumua stepped up to slot the ball past goalkeeper Siana Short for the opener in the 31st minute.

Cook Islands didn’t have to wait long after the restart as Aukwai once again pointed to the spot. This time it was Toru Mateariki securing the first goal of the tournament for Cook Islands.

Less than 20 minutes later and for a third time a penalty was awarded, a second for American Samoa, with Peter Lauvao taking the honour ahead of his skipper on this occasion and making no mistake.

The third and final goal was finished by one of the smallest players on the park, as substitute Xavior Leatualevao smashed the ball past a helpless Short to help his side finish on a high.

In the other match, the unbeaten Samoa team progressed to the OFC U16 Championship to be held from September 9-22 in the Solomon Islands after demolishing Tonga 9-0.

Samoa will join Fiji, New Caledonia and Tahiti in Group B of the OFC U16 Championship.

            - OFC Media/RK

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