Cook Islands’ starting 11 before their match against Solomon Islands. Fédération Tahitienne de Football/22091206
Cook Islands lost their second OFC U19 Championship 2022 match in Tahiti after going down to Solomon Islands 0-3 on Sunday.
The national side lost to New Zealand 0-8 in the
opening match and will take on the winless American Samoa in its final pool
match this afternoon.
Cook Islands will need a positive result against
American Samoa to have a chance of qualifying as one of the best third-placed
Solomon Islands booked their spot in the top eight
alongside New Zealand, after goals from Selwyn Hou, Paul Francis and Junior
Rocky decided a tight contest against the Cooks at Stade Fautaua.
Just as they did in their opening game of the
tournament against New Zealand, the Cook Islands found themselves a goal down
inside two minutes. Rocky pinched the ball from sprawling Cook Islands goalkeeper
Ngereine Maro to cross for Hou, who headed home the opener from close-range.
Maro then did well to deny Francis after a delightful
piece of skill from the forward in the box. However, Francis did not have to
wait long for his fourth goal of the competition, albeit in fortuitous fashion,
as his half-volley deflected off Nuku Mokoroa and looped over the helpless
The Cook Islands did demonstrate their threat from
set-pieces shortly after, Nia Remuera nearly pulling a goal back after a deep
free-kick into Solomons territory.
However, it was a rare foray forward, with Maro again
saving brilliantly to deny Alden Suri as half-time approached and twice again
early in the second period from Francis and Rocky.
The last time these two nations met at a OFC U-19
Championship was back in 2016, with the Solomons winning 3-0. With 20 minutes
left they emulated that scoreline, Rocky poking the ball beyond Maro after
Suri’s effort had bounced kindly into his path.
Resolute defending from the likes of Mokoroa and Remuera kept the Solomons at bay for the rest of the fixture.