Samoan goal keeper Lenora Misa – the Player of the Match – in particular impressed, registering 11 interceptions against the obvious threat of the tournament’s top scorer Tharjini Sivalingam.
Sri Lanka beat Singapore by 38 goals yesterday to record their highest ever score at a World Cup – and their first win at a World Cup since matchday one in 2015, a 12-match losing streak – and topped the group involving the four bottom-placed stage one sides going into day five of the tournament.
Samoa, though, had won all five meetings between the teams at World Cups previously – and that 100% record continued.
Sivalingam, who shot 76 out of 78 (97% accuracy) against Singapore on Monday, continued her excellent scoring form as she netted all 16 goals scored by Sri Lanka in the opening quarter.
Misa, winning her fourth cap having made her debut at the World Cup, was kept busy and initially struggled to deal with the significant height difference between the pair.
After an incredibly end-to-end and flowing encounter across the first 15 minutes, Sri Lanka led 17-13. That ebb and flow to the match was something that was set to continue.
The high intensity extended into the second period, though the quality, particularly from Sivalingam, waned a little as Misa began to make interceptions on a regular basis. The goal shooter missed four chances to score early in the second quarter, which only increased Samoa’s confidence.
Sivalingam was punished by Samoa at the other end, as they won the period 19-10, and took the lead in the game overall, five goals clear at the halfway mark.
Samoa’s excellent interchanges and the clinical nature of goal shooter Toa Tanimo, who scored 21 times from 22 shots in the opening two quarters, meant they had edged the first half.
Samoa, keen to maintain the momentum built up from the previous 15 minutes, soon opened up an eight-goal advantage early in the third quarter.
Sri Lanka, though, were not prepared to go down without a fight, as they notched three times in quick succession themselves courtesy of Sivalingam.
As the quarter progressed though, it was Samoa who extended their lead, as they quickened the pace and got the ball forward to goal shooter Tanimo more quickly. Tanimo converted on 42 occasions throughout the match, missing just three times, and it was her goals that fired Samoa further into the lead.
The gap was 12 goals at its largest during the third quarter, but by the end of it, Sivalingam’s conversions had pulled that back slightly to nine.
Goal attack Dulangi Wannithileka got onto the scoresheet for Sri Lanka as they cut the deficit to seven at one stage in the final quarter, but time was running out fast. With more and more urgency in attack, holes were left in defence which Samoa exploited on the counter-attack.
Sri Lanka won the final quarter by 17 goals to 13, but it was insufficient. Samoa took wins in each of the first three quarters and deservedly earned the two points.
In the final match of the second group stage, Sri Lanka will face Fiji, while Samoa will play Singapore. Both of those games will take place in session 11, on Wednesday morning, before the placings begin on Friday.