By Leslie Omaro, Games News Service
PORT MORESBY, July 9 – Papua New Guinea’s mixed touch footy team is on track for the Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games gold medal match following a heart-stopping 7-7 draw against rivals Samoa in their round-robin game on Thursday.
PNG coach Augustine Aisi (PNG) said he was happy with his side’s performance and was optimistic about their chances of qualifying for the gold medal match.
“I am happy with the two games [we have played] and now [this one] with Samoa who will be our rivals for the gold medal playoff,” said Aisi.
“But right now I can’t predict any outcome, we will wait and see what happens tomorrow.”
“We just have to be patient – patience will be our key to winning.”
The potential match up will continue a theme at Port Moresby 2015 as both PNG and Samoa’s men’s and women’s touch teams faced off in their respective gold medal matches on Tuesday, both of which PNG won.
The first half of Thursday’s match was played in slippery conditions and the moisture led to the two teams playing scrappy touch riddled with unnecessary errors.
Samoa drew first blood, piling on PNG with back-to-back tries in the space of two minutes through Lote Lima (SAM) and Peter Hazelman (SAM).
PNG finally put the scorer to work when Bobby Vavona (PNG) danced his way past some tired looking Samoa defence for the home side’s first touchdown.
Samoa took the game by the scruff when Leota Vai (SAM) crossed to get Samoa into a commanding 3-1 lead at the break.
If they were to challenge for the win PNG had to get into the game after the halftime break and they did just that with Uari Sarufa (PNG) getting two touchdowns in quick succession to level the scores at 3-3.
But PNG did not hold onto the lead for long as Samoa replied to nose ahead and ensure PNG would not run away with it.
It was a see-saw challenge for possession and touchdowns as both teams traded point for point over the rest of the journey.
For PNG, Eugene Miro Eka picked up two touchdowns along with Sarufa and Paul Matuta touching down once each.
Micheal Rasmussen (SAM), Tasi Cordtz (SAM), Lote Lima (SAM) and Jesse Leituvae (SAM) all scored for Samoa to level the scores at 7-7.
And that is how it would end.
The Samoa game was PNG’s second of the day, earlier they had beaten Tonga 18-1.
The team’s final match of the round-robin stage is against the Cook Islands on Friday, July 10 at 09:00.