PORT MORESBY, July 15 – New Caledonia will be defending its Pacific Games title on Friday when it takes on Tahiti in the gold medal match at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium.
Both teams were impressive in their semifinal matches, with Tahiti beating Papua New Guinea 2-1 and New Caledonia defeating Fiji by the same scoreline.
If New Caledonia wins the final, it will be its third straight title after winning gold in the Samoa 2007 Pacific Games and the Noumea 2011 Pacific Games. If Tahiti wins, it will be its first gold in the Pacific Games soccer competition.
New Caledonia’s coach, Thierry Sardo (NCL), attributed the team’s win to a game plan which involved tiring the Fijian side in the first half and attacking in the second half.
Patrice Flaccadori (TAH), Tahiti’s coach, said: “We had a plan and the boys respected it and we won. We are looking forward to the finals.”
Alwin Komolong, the PNG captain, expressed his disappointment over the loss to Tahiti but remained optimistic about the bronze medal match with Fiji.
“We’ll still go in and fight hard for the bronze medal and try to get the bronze, try to get something out of all this hard work. We’ll focus on that,” said Komolong.
Carlos Guzzetti (URU), Fiji’s coach said: “I am very proud of the boys. The main achievement for us is we are in the Olympic Games and nobody (from the Pacific islands) has gone through to the Olympics so that’s what it’s all about.”