25 Jul 2017

Sport: NZ sweep OFC U19 Champs

2:03 pm on 25 July 2017

New Zealand completed a clean sweep of the OFC Under 19 Women's Football Championship, but were forced to share some of the top individual awards.

The hosts, who had already secured top spot and a place at next year's Under 20 World Cup in France in the previous round, thrashed Tonga 9-0 to finish the event with 48 goals for and just one against in their five wins.

New Zealand coach Gareth Turnbull said his side played some of the best football of the campaign against Tonga.

"We played really well in the first half, probably the best 45 minutes of our campaign," he said.

"Tonga, credit to them. It was a bit like Samoa certainly in the second half when they sat a little bit deeper. They defended with real spirit and made it challenging for us to break down but we're pleased with the performance."

New Zealand celebrate winning the OFC Under 19 Women's Championship.

New Zealand celebrate winning the OFC Under 19 Women's Championship. Photo: OFC via Phototek

Fiji beat New Caledonia 2-1 to finish second overall, but they didn't leave empty handed, with goalkeeper Ateca Tuwa awarded the Golden Glove, while captain Luisa Tamanitoakula earned the Golden Ball for player of the tournament.

Coach Saroj Kumar acknowledged it had been a challenging tournament for his team following the death of their former goalkeeper Francine Lockington, who was forced to withdraw from the squad prior to their departure.

"It has been a heart-touching tournament for us. Losing our goalkeeper and then coming here and winning silver - it's wonderful for us," he said.

"It was a tough game today, they played their cards well but the girls were really focused on winning and we tried to press them high when we had the wind.

"We studied New Caledonia's game and we tried to press them, force them to make mistakes and then get goals."

Fiji captain Luisa Tamanitoakula won the Golden Ball award for player of the tournament.

Fiji captain Luisa Tamanitoakula won the Golden Ball award for player of the tournament. Photo: OFC via Phototek

Meanwhile, Nicollete Ageva collected her seventh goal of the tournament as Papua New Guinea drew 1-1 with Samoa in the day's final encounter to ensure their place on the podium.

Ageva and Fiji's Luisa Tamanitoakula finished tied for fourth on the goalscoring charts, behind golden boot winner Emma Main, who bagged 11 goals, and New Zealand teammates Samantha Tawharu and Hannah Blake.

Champions New Zealand also picked up the Fairplay Award after going five matches without a single caution.

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