Opening wins for Fiji, Tahiti - Solomon Star News

Opening wins for Fiji, Tahiti

11 September 2018
Tahiti players celebrating their second goal.

FIJI and Tahiti kicked off their campaign in the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) U17 Championship with wins in their opening group B matches at the Lawson Tama Stadium on Monday.

Fiji registered its first three points after trailing by two goals to edge their way past Samoa 3-2.

Samoa shocked the Fijians with two opening goals both by captain Lotial Mano in the first half leaving the Fijians to struggle through the midday heat to level the scores.

Fiji fought back in search for a goal, knowing a third goal from Samoa would make the fight to level the scores tougher.

Their efforts paid off two minutes into added time when Eshan Kumar found the back of the net to close the gap.

Fiji captain Josaia Sela scored a double later in the second half to give Fiji the lead.

Fiji coach Yogendra Dutt said they expected a tough match against Samoa but had confidence in his team.

“We expected it to be a tough match.

“After trailing by a goal at half time I told the boys to keep possession of the ball and progress forward.

“That’s what we did in the second 45 minutes of the game,” he said.

Samoan coach Martin Tamasese was satisfied despite the defeat, admitting that his players were tired in the second half which gave Fiji the advantage to progress.

“There is no excuse for our defeat.

“We did put up a good fight unfortunately the boys were tired so Fiji took advantage of that.

“At least we get the feel of how the weather is like here so we look forward for New Caledonia in our next match,” he said.

The second match was a close race between the two Francophone nations, New Caledonia and Tahiti.

Tahiti came out winners with a score 2-1 after 90 minutes of battle.

Tahiti took lead from the opening goal by Tekaki Sangue and the second early in the second half, by Denji Kaiha before New Caledonia scored their only goal.

It was a tough match between the two sides and the rivalry between them eventually boiled over resulting in three players being red carded, two from the Tahit side and one form New Caledonia.

Matches will continue tomorrow Wednesday September 12 with the group A matches.