Host nation Tahiti finished third in the OFC Under 16 Women’s Championship at Stade Pater in Papeete today after overcoming a gutsy Tonga outfit 5-3.
With six goals in the group stage, Tama’a Faletau was always going to be a threat and her predatory instinct gave Tonga the lead.
She latched onto a through ball, outpacing the Tahitian defence and prodding past the goalkeeper to open the scoring.
The lead only lasted for 10 minutes as Hereana Brothers broke down the right and her cross was deflected into the path of Haranui Le Gayic, who slotted the ball under the onrushing Ana Kafoa.
Brothers’ was a constant threat on the flank and it was another one of her low crosses finding Willany Kautai who finished well past Kafoa to give Tahiti the lead.
Tahiti fought hard in a span of three minutes just before the break pulling three more goals killed the match off for Tonga.
Le Gayic scrappily bundled in following a through ball from Kautai before a mistake dealing with a free-kick led to another messy Le Gayic finish.
Her fourth and Tahiti’s fifth looked brilliant as the Number 9 classily sweeping the ball high into the net following another good cross from the right.
Tonga started the second half with a greater purpose as they looked to work their way back into the game.
With just nine minutes remaining, Tonga finally got their consolation goal when Faletau determinedly made her way into the box, eventually laying the ball off to substitute Anna Pongi to score.
With stoppage time looming, a Tongan third goal arrived when Mele Falekakala beat her opponent outside the box and her curled effort found the corner of the net to the shock of the home crowd.
The match grand final between Fiji and New Zealand will kick start at 5pm.