Sport: Cooks set early pace in Oceania U17Football Preliminaries

The Cook Islands lived up to their favourites tag with 7-1 drubbing of Tonga on the opening day of the Oceania Under 17 Football Preliminary tournament in Apia.

New Zealand-based striker Maro Bonsu-Maro opening the scoring from close range in just the sixth minute and the Cooks led 6-1 at half-time, with sub Morgan Wichman netting the only second half strike.

Head Coach Tuka Tisam says his team played really well in the first half but will need to press harder and keep possession for longer in future.

In the earlier game, American Samoa took the lead on ten minutes through winger Kaleopa Siligi before Filisi Keni equalised for Samoa with a bending free kick five minutes later.

The visitors regained their lead before the break, before Keni equalised again, this time from the penalty spot, in the 69th minute, leaving American Samoa coach Junior Mikaele to lament his players letting victory slip away.

The winner of this week's tournament will advance to the Under 17 Championship in Vanuatu in April.

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