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Cooks beat Tonga 3-0 in soccer’s World Cup qualifier

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NUKU’ALOFA-August 31: 5.12pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Striker Saghabi Taylor scored a hat-trick as the Cook Islands defeated Tonga 3-0 at the Tonga Football ground in Veitongo earlier today in a Oceania Football Confederation World Cup qualifying match.

Cooks players congratulate Taylor (11) who scored three goals against Tonga. Photo: NUKU’LOFA TIMES

The number 11 proved to be the difference between the two sides as he single-handedly destroyed Tonga in a match that swung the visitor’s way mid-way through the first half.

His first goal came in the 38th minute of the first half after a number of raids deep inside the Tongan half.

He scored two more in the second spell to douse off any hopes of a Tonga come-back.

Tonga were unlucky not to have scored any goal, with missed opportunities.

Striker Hemaloto Polovili and captain Mark Uhatahi missed opportunities during the game as the local side tried to find the back of the net.

Tonga will have to win the next game on Wednesday if they are to have any chance of finishing as the top team in the play-off.

The Cooks received full points from the match and will meet Samoa in their second game on Wednesday.

Tonga defender Sione Uhatahi stops the ball in front of a Cook Island’s player. Photo: NUKU’ALOFA TIMES


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