Papua New Guinea Records First Win of Their Campaign Against a Spirited American Samoa

Papua New Guinea Records First Win Of Their Campaign Against A Spirited American Samoa


Spearheaded by the lightning-fast striker Israel Ure, Papua New Guinea has earned a 3-1 victory against American Samoa at the OFC U-16 Men’s Championship 2024 – Qualifying in Tonga.

Right from the whistle American Samoa made their intent clear, a lovely through ball over the top put Pati Faleagafulu into space, however, his shot was well covered by Alexander Possiri. Faleagafulu was in the thick of the action in the opening five minutes, registering all American Samoa’s shots.

But against the run of play, it was Papua New Guinea (PNG) that landed the first blow. Lightening quick striker Israel Ure picked up the ball just beyond the halfway line and made a brilliant run into the box. He then unleashed a vicious toe poke that snuck under keeper Alvin Talataiga and dribbled across the line for the first goal in the sixth minute.

It wasn’t long until a vocal contingent of Tongan school kids were screaming again. In the 16th minute, PNG’s Nathaniel Ovia brilliant tackle in the middle of the park, saw the ball deflect to his teammate Ure. He used his pace to glide past the defenders, before unleashing a great strike that bounced off the post and in.

Photo Credit: OFC Media via Tonga FA

Both team’s tactics were obvious, use the pace they had up front to get in behind each other’s defence. And it was working, especially for Papua New Guinea, another ball over the top to Ure put him in on goal, again, but American Samoa’s Talataiga made a tactical foul to deny the Papua New Guinea attacker his hat-trick.

Approaching half-time, another through ball from captain Waterhouse Waiwai put Tasi Sauvao in on goal. He lifted his shot over the on-rushing goalkeeper and just when it looked to be drifting wide, following up was dangerman Ure, who tapped it home for his hat-trick.

Under the baking sun, fatigue set in during the second spell, meaning the intensity from the first half had dropped off. Chatter on the pitch was reduced to a minimum as both teams struggled to gain ascendancy.

Papua New Guinea’s goal scorer hadn’t slowed down as he continued to beat American Samoa’s off-side trap. But they lost the focal point of their attack in the 79th minute, as Ure had to be carried off the field with a serious case of cramps.

Down to 10-men until a substitution could be made, American Samoa pounced. In the 82nd minute captain Mavaega Luvu ended the second-half stalemate as he scored from the penalty spot, giving his side some hope of achieving a comeback.

American Samoa started to assert their dominance in the final stages of the match and were aided by more than 10 minutes of added time. However, Papua New Guinea remained staunch in defence as they held on to claim a 3-1 victory, their first of the tournament.



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