Host Fiji kicked off its campaign in the 2023 OFC U17 Championship with a convincing 3-0 victory over Samoa at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva tonight.
A perfectly curled Vinayak Rao corner in the 28th minute saw Nadroga youngster William Khan rise above the Samoan defence and head the ball into the roof of the net.
The Baby Bula Boys led 1-0 at the break and Prashant Kumar doubled their lead early in the second spell before hardworking Rao got his name on the score-sheet from the penalty spot in the 60th minute.
Coach Sunil Kumar made some positional changes in the last quarter of the match and sent in more attackers in search of goals.
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial School long distance runner Nirav Kumar and Ba’s Isimeli Gavidi were introduced in place of Australia based Ibraheem Afazal and Rao.
In earlier changes, New Zealand based Richard Swami was replaced by Jacob Seninawanawa and Petero Maivalenisau took the field in place of striker Vilikesa Vosagaga.
Fiji will meet Tonga next on coming Thursday at the same venue and time.
Fiji– Ilisoni Koroi, Aaron Naicker (C), Prashant Kumar, Richard Swami, Salimone Ravonokula, Ibraheem Afazal, Delon Shankar, Watisoni Batirerega, Vilikesa Vosagaga, Willam Khan, Vinayak Rao.
Replacements– Savenaca Nabati, Kartik Sharma, Waisea Nagonelevu, Sahil Deo, Isimeli Gavidi, Peni Misipopi, Jacob Seninawanawa, Petero Maivalenisau, Nirav Kumar.
Samoa– Kirk Auvele, Aukaso Ah Far, Setefano Kamilo, Mitchell Mcilraith, Timoteo Lesatele, Rory Tanuvasa, Ethelbert Edward, Kingston Vaitusi, Ariyon Hakai, Alex Maluulu, Pharrell Trainor (C).
Replacements– Talalelei Tautuuga, Faapaia Asia, Isaiah Salanoa, Lomitusi Scanlan, Pita Tiatia, Oman Tamasese, Cayden Steffener, Malakye Patterson, Laveaina Sakaio.