PNG secure spot in Olympic football play-off with fourth straight Pacific Games gold medal

first_imgIn what was a gold medal contest that will not live long in the memory, Kaipu capitalised on a costly error by New Caledonia goalkeeper Honorine Pouidja to fire home from close range in the 21st minute, which proved to be the game’s solitary goal.New Caledonia had nearly 70 minutes to fight their way back into the match but were unable to find an answer as they suffered a second consecutive final defeat to Papua New Guinea.The result for the hosts maintains their monopoly of the event at the Pacific Games as they have won every gold medal since the sport was introduced onto the programme at Suva in 2003.Their victory prompted joyous scenes at the final whistle in front of the best crowd the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium has seen at these Games, with desolation evident on the faces of the New Caledonian side after falling short once again.The game’s crucial moment came after 21 minutes when Pouidja could only parry a weak Papua New Guinea effort straight into the path of Kaipu, who made no mistake to give her side an early advantage.Chances were then few and far between as New Caledonia struggled to react to the setback of going behind, with the hosts content to sit back and soak up pressure before counter-attacking when their opponents ventured forward.That trend continued after the restart, with the 2011 silver medallists still struggling to fashion any real clear-cut opportunities, and in the end Papua New Guinea were able to hold out for a deserved win to add yet another gold to their country’s medal tally.Earlier on, Cook Islands ensured they finished their tournament on a high as they clinched their first-ever Pacific Games football medal with a comfortable 2-0 win over Samoa in the bronze medal match.Tepaeru Toka edged her side in front just before the break, with Maeve Carr netting the second just after the restart and despite a lack of experience at this level, they were able to cling on for a famous victory.“This is 100 times better than amazing,” Toka said.“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”….PACNEWSlast_img read more

Brown to miss another month

first_img“For us, we’re trying to get to that point as well, and for us to come into this building and come out of here with a `W,’ I think that would do wonders for our confidence.” If the Lakers can win tonight, they would keep alive their chances of a successful 6-2 trip. If they lose, they would have to win one of their final two games to head home with a 4-4 split. Jackson doesn’t like his memories of how the Lakers played the last time they faced the Pistons, either. They had few answers for the zone defense Detroit played for three-plus quarters in a 97-83 Pistons win on Nov. 10 at Staples Center. “Their zone, it was weak,” Jackson said. “That was probably the worst performance I’ve seen a Lakers team play in their building.” ross.siler@dailynews.com (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Brown already has missed 18 games since he suffered the injury Dec. 31 against Philadelphia. The loss of Brown has forced 19-year-old Andrew Bynum into the starting lineup, a spot he will hold for the foreseeable future. The Lakers had hoped Brown might be able to return on this eight-game trip. The team has been burdened by injuries all season – Smush Parker is the only starter not to miss a game – and it is waiting for Luke Walton to return from a sprained ankle as well. AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Lakers center Kwame Brown flew back to Los Angeles after seeing a specialist in Indianapolis for a second opinion on his severely sprained left ankle and is expected to be out at least another month. The Lakers said the doctor confirmed that Brown has a severe sprain and a bone bruise. They declined to set a timetable for his return, but a source said Brown was told he will be out another four to six weeks. center_img Before his team hit the road last week, Lakers coach Phil Jackson joked about still hearing the echoes of the Detroit fans who kept him awake at night during the 2004 NBA Finals. They stood atop the parking garage opposite Jackson’s hotel room and left his ears ringing at 2 a.m. with chants of “L.A. Sucks.” Little wonder that Jackson opted to spend an extra off night in Atlanta this week instead of the Detroit suburbs. The Lakers lost all three games of those Finals on the road and have not won at the Palace of Auburn Hills since Jan. 8, 2002, a span of seven games that has led to more than a few nights of lost sleep. Maybe it’s only fitting that the arena will be the site for the pivotal game tonight on the Lakers’ longest trip since December 1989. “I think a win here would be big for us just from a confidence perspective,” Kobe Bryant said, “because Detroit is such an experienced team, extremely savvy and they play well together. last_img