Although Mataliki, Tonga’s National Women Football Team lost their quarter-final game against Papua New Guinea, the game was reported to have been one of the tournament’s greatest.
Papua New Guinea won 3-2 on penalties, after 3-3 at extra time in an insane game.
OFC reported that PNG are through to the semi-finals of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup 2022, after beating Tonga in surely one of the tournament’s greatest ever games at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva.
Mataliki in the first half stunned top ranked PNG, with two first-half goals.
PNG had won all three previous OFC Women’s Nations Cup meetings between these two sides, with Tonga failing to score in any of those fixtures. On the half-hour mark, Team Mataliki broke that record in sensational fashion.
It was a family affair, as Daviana Vaka took down twin sister Laveni’s long-ball before firing a vicious 35-yard strike over Watpore to secure a well-earned lead.
Despite their underdog tag Tonga continued to press forward and it was the imperious centre-back Laveni, who grabbed another assist for Tonga’s second goal.
PNG fired back and Tonga held on until the end of normal time and Laveni Vaka again produced a tenacious piece of defending to deny Kaipu early in extra-time before Padio thought she had secured the win, heading home Charlie Yanding’s well-placed cross only for Tonga to produce more heroics.
PNG will now play Samoa in the semi-finals on July 27 while Tonga, who only qualified for the quarter-finals by virtue of a better fair play record than Vanuatu, were left disappointed but proud of their efforts.
Tonga head coach Connie Selby said, “it is disappointing and the girls will be really disappointed but I think it is their best game of the tournament”.
“I am just so proud of them. I think the country should be proud of them as well.”
Papua New Guinea 3 AET (Ramona PADIO 63‘, 99’, Meagen GUNEMBA 70’)
Tonga 3 AET (Daviana VAKA 29‘, Jazmine LOTO’ANIU 44’, 109’)
Meanwhile, the final four to play in the semi-finals this week are Solomon Islands, Fiji, Samoa and PNG.