The group stage wrapped up on Thursday with Aitutaki, Puaikura, Mauke, Takitumu and Tupapa Maraerenga securing places in the semifinals.
Both Puaikura FC teams triumphed against Nikao Sokattak FC, brushing off their attacks and breaking down their defences to finish atop of Pool A.
Tupapa’s U16 Boys top place finish in Pool B, however, was a little harder to attain. Aitutaki came out fighting and took the Tupapa side by surprise. Aitutaki scored first putting Tupapa on the back foot. A few minutes later Tupapa defender Takai Mose took a chance, shooting from midfield. Noticing the goalkeeper was playing high in the box, he shot high. The ball went over the Aitutaki goalkeeper, and into the goal to level the scores. However, this wasn’t enough for Tupapa; they were hungry for a win. Temaruata Tearaitoa seized an opportunity to put Tupapa ahead and win the game for his team and securing their place in the semifinals as the Pool B winners.
Pool A’s U16 boy’s runner up was to be decided between Mangaia and Takitumu after Nikao’s Loss to Puaikura. Mangaia only required a draw to qualify while Takitumu needed a win. Takitumu took a two-goal lead in the second half before Mangaia could get one in. Mangaia fought hard and tried to level the scores but time had run out, and Takitumu edged passed Nikao on the standings to qualify for the semifinals.
Meanwhile, Aitutaki’s U16 girls consistently showed dominance in Pool B winning all their games. Their opponents in the semifinals were decided a day later when Takitumu drew with Mangaia placing them ahead on goal difference. Mauke’s U16 girls also displayed skill and strength in Pool B and also moved through as runner up’s on goal difference.
The winners of the semifinals yesterday will play today for the Kia Orana Youth Football festival trophies while the defeated teams will face off for 3rdplace in the earlier games. Competition Manager Pauline Dean say’s “Today’s games should not be missed. The pace of the games are fast, the display of skill is entertaining, and the outer island teams are demonstrating that they are not to be underestimated. We urge people to come to the CIFA complex and support all the teams playing, and we wish all teams good luck as they play their hearts out”.
DRAW FOR TODAY:
1:00 pm Loser Semifinal 1 VS Loser Semifinal 3 3rd/4thPlace Final (U16 Girls)
2:10 pm Loser Semifinal 2 VS Loser Semifinal 4 3rd/4thPlace Final (U16 Boys)
3:20 pm Winner Semifinal 1 VS Winner Semifinal 3 Final (U16 Girls)
4:30 pm Winner Semifinal 2 VS Winner Semifinal 4 Final (U16 Boys)