Olympics | SPORTS

Fiji U23 Go Down Fighting

Superior fitness and experience were the strength of the South Korean Under-23 football side as they romped to an 8-0 win over their Fijian counterparts yesterday. Backed by their supporters
06 Aug 2016 09:01
Fiji U23 Go Down Fighting
Simione Tamanisau makes another save during their first game against South Korea yesterday. Photo: FIFA

Superior fitness and experience were the strength of the South Korean Under-23 football side as they romped to an 8-0 win over their Fijian counterparts yesterday.
Backed by their supporters at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador, Brazil, the Koreans did not have it their way as the Fijians held them to a narrow 1-0 lead at halftime. Leading the charge was veteran goalkeeper, Simione Tamanisau, who made saves after saves as he marshalled his defenders of Alvin Singh, Jale Dreloa, Filipe Baravilala, Atonio Tuivuna and Pranil Naidu.
The Fijians downfall was in the midfield as Nickel Chand, Tevita Waranaivalu and Setareki Hughes were outclassed by the experienced Koreans. Captain Roy Krishna and Iosefo Verevou toiled hard upfront but were starved of possession.

What Happened:
Fiji entered the match as underdogs while South Korea dominated possession from the opening whistle, with forward Hwang Hee-chan and wingback Lee Seul-chan taking shots in the first five minutes.
South Korea then went through a cold spell, their possession not leading to any dangerous opportunity. Midfielder Moon Chang-jin fired a weak shot right into goalkeeper Tamanisau in the 24th, and winger Kwon Chang-hoon jumped on a loose ball from the top of the box in the 30th, only to hit the side of the net. Moon got a header off in the 31st from point-blank range, but Tamanisau made a spectacular diving save to keep it a scoreless affair.
The drought finally ended in the next minute. Kwon sent a long cross from right that landed on the chest of Ryu Seung-woo, who deftly controlled the ball and poked it past Tamanisau as he fell down.
Ryu was again in the thick of things in the 38th. He was brought down by Baravilala in the box, and Moon stepped up to take the penalty. Unable to buy a break all match, Moon struck the left post with his shot. The rebound went right to Ryu, who fired it well wide of the net. South Korea would have doubled the lead two minutes later, but Tamanisau made a brilliant stop on streaking striker Hwang Hee-chan in the 54th. The Fijian goalkeeper stood on his head again five minutes later, denying Ryu’s shot fired from the left side of the box. Tamanisau’s magic ran out soon, however, as South Korea went off for three goals in less than two minutes.
Kwon converted a fine feed from Moon for his first of the night in the 62nd. In the next minute, Kwon was at it again, this time assisted by Ryu. Ryu then got in on the act seconds later to make it 4-0.
Tottenham Hotspur attacker Son Heung-min, who came off the bench in the 69th, converted a penalty in the 72nd minute for a 5-0 lead, after Ryu took a knee to the face in a battle for the loose ball in the area. South Korea weren’t done. In the 77th, Ryu was denied a hat trick by Tamanisau, but a big rebound went right to FC Porto forward Suk Hyun-jun, who struck it home for a 7-0 advantage.
Fiji barely put up a fight, though Krishna curled one wide of the far post in the 76th for Fiji’s first and only dangerous chance. Suk headed in a corner kick in the 90th minute, and Ryu completed his trick to round out the scoring just before the final whistle.

Fiji Line-up: Simione Tamanisau, Alvin Singh, Pranil Naidu, Jale Dreloa, Filipe Baravilala (replaced by Anish Khem- 66th min)  , Setareki Hughes (replaced by Saula Waqa- 66th min), Nickel Chand, Tevita Warainaivalu (replaced by Savenaca Nakalevu-77th min), Roy Krishna, Iosefo Verevou

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