December 09, 2017
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Tamanisau blunder forces draw

Fiji was forced to a 1-1 draw by host Vanuatu in their all-important clash of the 2017 Mini Pacific Games in Port Villa today as veteran goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau’s blunder in front of goal resulted in the equalizer.

Fiji started the match attacking and the top goal scorer of the Games Christopher Wasasala opened the account in the 31st minute after heading in a Setareki Hughes deep cross from the right hand corner.

The Christophe Gamel coached side led 1-0 at the break and tightened its defence in the second half as the hosts introduced some new attackers from their bench and kept the pressure.

Right back Laisenia Raura could have doubled the scores for Fiji in the 73rd minute but his attempt which beat goalkeeper Chikau Mansale came off the left post.

Vanuatu entered Fiji’s defensive area through a counter-attacking move but a back pass to Tamanisau by one of his team mates was fumbled by the experienced stopper as he in his desperation to clear kicked the ball into the path of youngster Azariah Soromon who made no mistake by tapping the ball into an empty net in the 78th minute.

The result gives Fiji 5 points after three matches while Vanuatu has 7 points and Solomon Islands currently lead the standings with 7 points and better goal difference.

Fiji will now have to win its remaining two matches against Tonga and New Caledonia by a good goal margin and will have to hope that Vanuatu and Solomon Islands drop their points in their two matches.

Fiji plays Tonga in its next match at 2pm on Tuesday.

By Reginald Chandar

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