Vanuatu, T&T finish brightly
Despite entering their last match without a win, Vanuatu and Trinidad and Tobago finished their tournament on a high as they recorded victories over Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea in their respective fifth place play-offs. Two goals from Andre Kalselik gave the Vanuatu boys a 2-0 triumph over Zimbabwe while in the day’s earlier game, Trinidad and Tobago’s girls prevailed over Papua New Guinea in the tournament’s first penalty shoot-out.
Match of the Day
Vanuatu 2-0 Zimbabwe
Goals: Andre Kalselik 20’, 60’
With nothing to lose, both sides showed their intent to restore some pride by winning the game. Zimbabwe attacked first but Vanuatu quickly got the better of their opponents through their fluid passing. Santino Mermer was in the heart of their best moves, calling the Zimbabwe keeper Fungai Benard into action with a low shot in the opening exchanges. The Oceania side’s efforts paid dividends when they took the lead midway through the opening half courtesy of some dazzling combination play between their attacking duo Michel Coulon and Andre Kalselik. Picking out a Jelene Waiwai cross on the edge of the box, Coulon sold a perfect dummy to Benard before cleverly squaring the ball to the unmarked Kalselik, who kept his cool to slot home.
Zimbabwe upped their tempo in the second half and they could have equalised when Lucky Ndlela was presented with a one-on-one chance, but inexplicably shot straight at the keeper. The Africans continued to press forward for the equaliser but it was their rivals who doubled their lead on the hour mark. Again the impressive Coulon had a hand in their second goal. Surging down from the left, he launched a powerful cross which Bernard only succeeded in pushing away. The clearance fell at the feet of Kalselik, whose shot was deflected home.
The other game
Papua New Guinea 0-0 (2-4, PSO) Trinidad and Tobago
A one-hour downpour just prior to kick-off meant that this game was postponed for 55 minutes, but it breathed a fresh, cool air into the Jalan Besar Stadium as the match got off to a lively start. Trinidad and Tobago had more of the ball in the early stages with Marlique Asson and Jonelle Warrick constantly threatening the opponents’ goal. Asson saw a cross-cum-shot hit the far post before Warrick raced clear and lobbed the ball narrowly over the bar.
Papua New Guinea spurned a golden chance to take the lead when Georgina Kaikas’s spot-kick was saved by Lebrisca Phillip. However, the Caribbean side continued to press but failed to convert their dominance into real chances. The two sides pushed forward harder after the interval but a lack of accuracy remained the key problem. In the ensuing penalty shoot-out, Rumona Morris and Biangka Gubag failed to convert from the spot, while Trinidad and Tobago players made no mistake from their four attempts.
Goal of the day
The first goal scored by Kalselik was a testament to the striker's composure as well as the unselfishness of Coulon who provided the assist.
"Both teams played quite well and it was good game. It was exciting for the crowds when the game went to the shoot-out. For us, losing the game in such a way could be cruel but the girls played their best, so I am still happy," Michael Robinson, Papua New Guinea coach