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Cooks in contention despite draw

Monday 26 June 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Soccer, Sports


Cooks in contention despite draw
Cook Islands’ Penina Katuke controls possession against Tahiti at the OFC U-19 Women’s Championship 2023 in Suva, Fiji. (Photo Credit: OFC Media via Phototek)/23062516

Cook Islands and Tahiti are both still in with a chance of progressing to the knockout stages at OFC U-19 Women’s Championship 2023 following a tightly contested 0-0 draw in Suva, Fiji on Saturday.

Neither side managed to truly stamp their authority on proceedings, with clear-cut chances few and fair between, especially in the first period.

Tahiti started the brighter of the two sides but couldn’t convert possession and territorial advantage into chances that sufficiently tested Cook Islands goalkeeper Kimberly Uini. Anavai Taaviri’s close range header almost brought the keeper into action but she couldn’t direct her effort goalwards.

It was the Cook Islands who came closest in the opening 45 minutes. Following a corner from the left that was played back across the face of goal, Victoria Fatiaki turned her effort towards goal, only to be denied by an outstanding reaction save from Gelimma El Hadj Kaddour in the Tahiti goal.

The second-half began slowly but it was Cook Islands who eventually took the ascendency with arguably the best chance of the match falling to Hereatea Mapu, who after being put clean through on goal shot straight at El Hadj Kaddour, who parried behind for a corner.

El Hadj Kaddour might have counted herself lucky in the 62nd minute when she appeared to handle the ball outside of the box when coming out to clear on the left-flank but neither referee nor assistant referee showed any interest.

Mapu had another chance when she outmuscled her marker to create space in the area but could only side-foot wide of the target as the match seemed destined to finish 0-0.

Despite a subdued second-half Tahiti almost stole it late on. Haranui Le Gayic, who had been kept quiet for most of the tie, found Hanihei Hamatai unmarked at the back post with an excellent cross only to see Uini palm away the resulting header.

Both sides remain in contention in Group C with Cook Islands to face Solomon Islands in the final match on Wednesday (Fiji time).

  • OFC Media