Friday, May 24, 2024
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Fiji advance to Olympic Qualifier final

Fiji has progressed to the final of the OFC Olympic Qualifier after outclassing the Solomon Islands 3-0 in the second semifinal at the Go Media Stadium in Auckland tonight.

Lanky Captain Etonia Dogalau stood out and led by example, getting a goal in each half to steer his brigade closer to achieving the Olympic dream.

After some early exhange of opportunities by the two sides, the Fijians found their rhythm in the 25th minute as a corner kick delivery from Aporosa Yada to Nabil Begg saw him curl in a delightful cross in the air, allowing Dogalau a free-header for the opener.

Yada missed two brilliant, one from a neat through pass from Dogalau which only required a toe to find the net and the other a well timed header which rose inches over the cross-bar.

Fiji led 1-0 at the break and the Solomon Islanders entered the second half with some urgency and launched a couple of good attempts, searching for the equaliser.

Goalkeeper Aiydin Mustahib who walked away with the Player of the Match award pulled off some fine saves while Inoke Turagalailai proved to be a brick-wall in defence- heading and clearing the ball away in a timely manner on a number of occasions.

Dogalau doubled Fiji’s lead in the 70th minute after Begg made a brilliant run on the left flank, beat three defenders and laid the ball into his path for an easy tap-in.

The captain made way for Epeli Valevou three minutes later to get a much deserved rest after his heroics of the night.

Coach Rob Sherman sent in two more reinforcements in the form of Gulam Razool and Semi Nabenu for Yada and Mohammed Raheem to keep freshness in both the attack and defence.

Wellington based utility Brendan McMullen had the final say of the match as he headed in a free-kick in the 89th minute, giving goalkeeper Junior Petua no chance whatsoever.

Fiji will now meet hosts and favorites New Zealand in the final.

The Kiwis thrashed Vanuatu 8-0 in the first semifinal earlier in the day.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports |


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