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Pressure on PNG: Rufer

The shocking 1-1 draw against American Samoa on Sunday has destined the young Papua New Guinea side for a rough path as they face hosts Fiji who are beaming with confidence after wins over American Samoa and New Caledonia.
The idea to rest a number of key players may have back-fired against American Samoa but Rufer believes the remaining matches must be their focus now.
“Against American Samoa I wanted to give the reserves a chance. It was a risk which I took and I take full responsibility for that. We were expecting to win but the draw has made things a lot difficult now as we face more pressure to beat Fiji,” Rufer said.
“The loss has made it difficult but we are still in the game. We have to work on our mistakes and come out stronger in the remaining matches.”
A victory against Fiji tomorrow might just get their campaign back on track but Papua New Guinea is highly likely to miss their top choice goal keeper Koniel Vagi who was
stretched off in their last match.
“With Vagi he had this dislocation of the knee cap about two months ago and he’s recovered quite well from that. His first game since the injury was against the Solomon Islands, he done quite well but we think he may have injured the knee which means he probably won’t be able to play the next game. But miracles happen, we’re always looking for miracles as we were in the second half here against American Samoa so at this stage unsure if he’s going to be able to play in two days’ time,” he said .
Vagi played a key role and made some quality saves in their 2-0 victory over New Caledonia.
Papua New Guinea in the history of the OFC U-20 championship has never beaten Fiji but it remains to be seen if history is re written tomorrow.

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