After both suffering defeats on Match Day 1, Monday’s second fixture presented Melanesian rivals Vanuatu and Solomon with do-or-die encounter.
Following a nervous start, Vanuatu have gradually asserted their dominance and deservedly took the lead in the 20th minute through Cynthia Ngwele’s well-hit strike from inside the box.
Bindy Erikan doubled the advantage thanks to a wonderful through ball from Annie Gere, which helped her to beat the offside trap before rounding up the Solomon keeper Serah Alpefolocia in the 36th minute.
Using her impressive pace, Erikan passed her defender on the right before finding the net with a brilliant drive to grab her second and Vanuatu’s
third in the final minute of the first half.
With the sting taken out of the match, the second period saw a far more even contest with chances at both ends, before Daina Sine sealed the 4-0 victory for Vanuatu by finding the net from close range following a scramble in front of the Solomon goal in the 79th minute.
The win keeps Vanuatu’s Group A hopes alive ahead of their match with Fiji, while the Solomon Islands will only have their pride to play for in their final match against hosts Cook Islands.
Despite the win Vanuatu coach Jean Robert Yelou admits his players still have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to compete with
“Yes, this was a good performance, not too good but the important thing is that we got 3 points on the table,” he said
“We learnt a lot especially in terms of finishing, we also improved our running but we still have a lot to work on. But I’m happy with some of the
improvements from the first game.
“For many of my players this is their first time playing in an international game, also away from home…even though back home we had some difficulties with the women’s leagues, they did what we expected from them and that’s all we can ask for,” explained the Vanuatu coach.
Meanwhile, Solomon Islands coach Patrick Miniti rued his side’s slow start.
“It was tough, and we talked about it, not to let goals go in inside the first 20 minutes, but they scored some good goals and we can’t say we didn’t make an effort but they outplayed us and that was excellent on their part,
but we’ll have to go back to the drawing board and work on our defence,” he lamented.
“We did not play the way we wanted for reasons that we have to assess and to work on for the next game, I think we were quite indecisive and
that didn’t help,” explained Miniti.