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Fijians Romp To Win Over Vanuatu

The Vodafone Fijian Under-19 team romped to a 3-1 victory over Vanuatu as the two na­tions opened their campaigns in the evening encounter in Papeete . In the evening action
08 Aug 2018 10:29
Fijians Romp To Win Over Vanuatu
Vodafone Fijian Under-19 striker Ratu Dau (left) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the 3-1 win over Vanuatu in Papeete, Tahiti on August 7, 2018. Photo: OFC

The Vodafone Fijian Under-19 team romped to a 3-1 victory over Vanuatu as the two na­tions opened their campaigns in the evening encounter in Papeete .

In the evening action Vanuatu took on Fiji in yet another show­down between Melanesian broth­ers, and once again the match lived up to the expected hype with both sides really going for it.

The best chances in the first half seemed to fall predominantly in Fiji’s favour as their speed and physicality proved difficult for Va­nuatu to contain. Speedster Ratu Dau along with Kishan Sami, Mo­hammed Khan and Tito Vodowaqa were a constant thorn in Vanuatu’s defensive line as they latched onto long balls and threatened the goal throughout the first half.

However Kaison Maki’s charges started to find their place in the match and were soon putting pres­sure of their own on Fiji, but it wasn’t enough to trouble them and Fiji hit them where it hurt just be­fore the break.

Dau, who had been a constant threat up the left, beat Junior Bule in foot race to go 1v1 with keeper Joshua Willie who Dau chipped with ease to open the scoring.

The goal put Vanuatu at a disad­vantage for the second half and they struggled to overcome allow­ing Fiji to control the game when they came out for the final 45 min­utes.

Less than 10 minutes after the re­start and Fiji were increasing their lead as Mohammed Naizal put a low cross in across the face of the goal which Tito Vodowaqa placed past Willie.

Being two goals down seemed to inject some life into Vanuatu and they pushed to find something which would bring them back into the game. A couple of chances presented themselves but were off-target or blocked.

The break for Vanuatu came in the 78th minute when a foul in the penalty area had Campbell-Kirk Waugh pointing to the spot.

Jordy Tasip stepped up to convert from the penalty spot with 10 min­utes remaining and Vanuatu looked like a second might be coming two minutes later only for Mohammed Alam to boot the danger away.

With only added time remaining Waugh was once again pointing to the penalty spot, this time at the other end of the field, as Fiji were awarded a penalty.

Kishan Sami saw his first effort saved by Willie, but he kept his wits and made sure not to miss with his follow up attempt which saw Fiji take a 3-1 lead, which they held un­til the final whistle.

Comments:

Vanuatu coach Kaison Maki;

“I think the issue of arriving late and all these things, our boys tried their best but they can’t do any­thing because it’s up here and phys­ically, and they couldn’t respond today,” Maki said.

Fijian coach Bal Reddy’

“I think this is a well-deserved victory for us,” he said, “especially starting the tournament and get­ting three points, I think that is the way forward for us.”

Reddy said the approach was to close down any channels Vanuatu might be looking to exploit, and not allow them to play the ball.

“We had compactness in our de­fence and as soon as we had the ball we tried to play possession. Rather than playing long balls, after look­ing at all the teams, we tried to play short passes and I think that worked really well for us.”

Solomon Islands Exact Revenge

It’s the exact 3-2 scoreline which Solomon Islands were downed by in 2017 during the OFC U-17 Champi­onship, also in Tahiti, with the win seeing New Caledonia through to the final and on to India at the FIFA U17 World Cup.

While yesterday’s match didn’t have quite so much riding on it, the victory for Batram Suri’s side could prove crucial when it comes to tallying up points and goal differ­ence further down the track.

For now, the former Solomon Is­land international is pleased to have witnessed his side come to­gether and make a strong start to the competition against a side he rates highly.

“To play against New Caledonia, for the Solomon Islands, is not easy,” Suri said.

“It’s always one wins, then the oth­er wins and always by a close mar­gin. So we expected that it would be tough.

“We came from behind, we were doing well and the boys really tried their guts out. The concentration of defending to attack is what the boys did well and they really worked for each other on the field.”

OFC

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