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Papua New Guinea faces New Caledonia in a do-or-die game

Staff Reporter 1/20/2015 | | |
PAPUA New Guinea must beat New Caledonia in their final Group A match today to secure a semi-final berth in the Oceania Football Confederation Under-17 championship.
The Harrison Kamake-coached side is third in the group on seven points, two behind New Caledonia, and a win will see PNG make the playoffs and a chance to qualify for the U17 World Cup later this year in Chile.
Group A matches have been played at the Joseph Sepp Blatter Football Park in Apia, Samoa.
The New Caledonians only need to draw the match to secure their passage to the final four.
The championship’s Group B matches are being played in Pago Pago, American Samoa, with Vanuatu and Tahiti looking the most likely top finishers in the pool.
PNG has two wins, a draw and a loss in their four games to date, while New Caledonia has three wins and a loss.
The winner of the match will join New Zealand at the top of the top of the group.
The Kiwis have won all their matches so far.
Their hardest-fought match was a 5-4 victory over New Caledonia on Monday, while PNG went down to the junior All Whites 3-0.
New Zealand have already qualified for the semi-finals with 12 points and take on the Cook Islands  today — which appears little more than a formality.
On the back of a streak of four straight losses that has seen them concede 21 goals in the process, the Cook Islands are not expected to offer much resistance against the Kiwis.
With 23 goals for and just five against, New Zealand’s march to the semis appears to have been relatively easy.
For the PNG-New Caledonia playoff, both teams will be down a squad member, with the latter’s Renzo Wejiemie and PNG’s Misty Laksam suspended for the encounter. But the depth of both teams should see their roles filled by an equally competent teammate.
Fixtures: PNG vs New Caledonia, New Zealand vs Cook Islands, Fiji vs Samoa. The National

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