Stunning goals give Samoa win in first Nations Cup game for four years

Samoa, in blue, on the attack against Tonga Photo: Supplied

In football, Samoa have opened the Oceania women’s Nations Cup with a 2-0 win over Tonga in Suva.

A long-range effort from captain Monique Fischer and a moment of individual brilliance from Jayda Stewart proved the difference.

The game at Suva’s HFC Bank Stadium represented a return to international football for many after years of disruption. It is the first Nations Cup since 2018.

While Samoa looked to control the game in hope of unleashing their main threat in striker Torijan Lyne-Lewis, Tonga were comfortable playing on the the counter-attack with Laveni Vaka’s endeavour causing disruption.

In the end, it was a driving run from Vaka that presented Tonga with a golden chance to take the lead after 13 minutes. However, Lositika Feke poked her effort wide past the onrushing Samoa goalkeeper Ronisa Lipi.

Tonga were then made to pay for their missed opportunity when Samoa scored the opening goal of the tournament from what appeared to be an innocuous position.

Tonga’s defence shaped up for a cross when Fischer stepped up to take a free-kick from 30 yards out. The Samoa captain’s effort slipped through the hands of Tonga goalie Meleana Taufa to give Paul Ifill’s side the lead.

Tonga then had an almost identical opportunity as Feke’s previous effort, this time Jazmine Loto’aniu placing her shot wide of the oncoming Lipi just before the break.

Team Mataliki continued to push for an equaliser in the second-half, with Feke and Loto’aniu again coming close before a moment of quality took the game away from Tonga.

On 70 minutes, Stewart dribbled and slalomed her way past three Tonga defenders before smashing home to finish a sweeping passing move which began deep in their own half.

Tonga will look to bounce back when they face the Cook Islands on Saturday, while Samoa also play the Cooks in their second game, on Tuesday.

Samoa 2 (Monique FISCHER 28′, Jayda STEWART 70′), Tonga 0

Source: RNZ