Fijians Face ‘Tough’ Tahiti Today

The results from the opening day of Group B action at the OFC U-16 Championship means the narrow differences between the four teams are  expected to continue. The feature match
13 Sep 2018 10:50
Fijians Face ‘Tough’ Tahiti Today
Vodafone Fiji football U16 team standing from left; Inoke Turagalailai, Mohammed Nabeel, Melvin Mani, Rahul Naresh, Abhishek Prasad and Josaia Sela. Front from left; Peceli Sukabula, Thomas Dunn, Isikeli Sevanaia, Nikhi Pillay, Eshan Kumar at Lawson Tama Stadium on September 10,2018. Photo; OFC

The results from the opening day of Group B action at the OFC U-16 Championship means the narrow differences between the four teams are  expected to continue.

The feature match today at the Lawsan Tama Stadium in Honiara will be between the two unbeaten teams Fiji and Tahiti at 11am

Fijians proved a determined bunch with their come-from-behind victory 3-2 over Samoa on Monday while Tahiti also had their work cut out for them before beating a lively New Caledonia side 2-1.

Vodafone Fijian U16 national coach Yogendra Dutt is aware of the qualities of Tahiti side but remains confident his team can pull through once again.

“We know that all the teams will be tough out here, it’s not easy in the pool play,” Dutt said.

“Next up is Tahiti and we need to prepare accordingly.”

After holding off a late charge in their own match, Tahiti will be keen to avoid letting their opponent get close again.

“It’s important for us to try and achieve first place in the group,” Coac Hermann Aurentz said.

“We can’t just sit on this one win we have to keep going.”

Samoa vs New Caledonia

The second encounter will be an equally exciting encounter with two sides keen to put their opening day defeats behind them.

Samoa very nearly caused an upset when captain Lotial Mano scored two goals inside the first 20 minutes.

It’s a lead they held into the second half and looked like they would continue to hold but for tiring bodies to betray them.

Fiji managed to find a winner in the 79th minute and despite their best efforts Samoa just didn’t have enough for one final push.

Knowing they face another tough opponent, Samoa coach Martin Tamasese hopes that the past couple of days have been enough recovery time for the squad.

“It will be a tough match for us,” he said, “but we still have confidence we can do better at these second stage qualifiers.

“We really want to stay for the semi-finals so that’s what we’re aiming for.”

New Caledonia, who finished runners-up in this competition in 2017, know that this match, and the final one in the group, are crucial for their chances of staying in contention for a semi-final spot.

But they also know that it won’t be easy, and that they’ve made the task harder for themselves after receiving two red cards during the game with Tahiti.

However coach Leon Waitronyie said the whole squad has something they can contribute, and now some will be contributing perhaps a little more than originally expected.

“We’ll have a team which can try and win in the coming matches because we need to win against Samoa, and then win against Fiji,”he said.

“I think against Samoa we need to go out and attack from the start. We saw in their match against Fiji that physically they were starting to struggle so I think it’s best to get something early and then try to kill off the match at the end.”

Fiji: 1. Isikeli Sevanaia (GK), 2. Rahul Naresh, 3. Inoke Turagalailai, 4. Peceli Sukabula, 5. Isikeli Tovilo, 6. Thomas Dunn, 7. Melvin Mani, 8. Abhishek Prasad, 9. Eshan Kumar, 10. Josaia Sela, 11. Nikhi Pillay, 12. Clarence Hussain, 13. Mohammed Ishrat, 14. Mohammed Nabeel, 15. Kunaal Nand, 16. Netani Suluka, 17. Joji Naqaqaliva, 18. Samuela Navoce, 19. Rohan Nath, 20. Aminio Tuilevu (GK)

Coach: Yogendra Dutt

Tahiti: 1. Josselin Capel (GK), 2. Matatini Vernaudon, 3. Noah Aussillous, 4. Manatini Sienne, 5. Manuarii Vahirua, 6. Sofiene Boukrouma, 7. Jason Jones, 9. Tehotu Gitton, 10. Tehauarii Holozet, 11. Clement Tehahe, 13. Denji Kaiha, 14. Ariiura Labaste, 15. Takai Schmit, 16. Terainui Tetuanui (GK), 17. Heihau Hanere, 18. Jeff Heuea, 19. Keanu Vernaudon

Coach: Hermann Aurentz.

Match Officials: Referee: George Time (Sol), assistant ref 1: Gareth Sheehan (NZL), assistant ref 2: Johnny Niabo (Sol), fourth official: Cory Mills (NZL).

In yesterday’s results Solomon Islands  thumped New Zealand 5-0.





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