Sunday, April 21, 2024
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NZ thumps Fiji, secures Olympics spot

New Zealand will represent the Oceania region at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics after thumping  Fiji 9-0 in the OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifier final in Auckland tonight.

Indiscipline marred the one-sided affair with Fiji finishing the game with 10-men.

The Rob Sherman coached Fijiians gave away an early goal to their opponents after striker Nabil Begg brought Luis Toomey down in their own box.

Match official made no hesitation and pointed towards a penalty in favor of New Zealand which Riley Bidois took and found the back of the net.

Fijian goalkeeper Aydin Mustahib no chance of stopping the spot kick.

Three minutes later, Bidois doubled the lead when he nodded a well timed Jesse Randall cross.

Bidois completed his hat-trick of goals in the 19th minute after sliding in to finish a Randall set piece play.

Fijian skipper Etonia Dogalau could have got the opener for the visitors in the 23rd minute trying to chip the onrushing New Zealand goalkeeper Alex Paulsen but his shot went inches out of play.

It went from bad to worse for the Junior Bula Boys when they were reduced to 10 men in the 32nd minute as Mohammed Raheem was sent off for a second yellow card after lunging and collecting the legs of Randall in the box.

Randall got back to his feet and impressively powered the ball past an unprepared Mustahib in the 33rd minute.

On the stroke of half time, Bidois became the Man of the Match adding his fourth goal after impressively taking the ball and smashing it into the roof of the net leaving the Fijian defenders and Mustahib stunned.

The Oly Whites led 5-0 at the break.

The onslaught continued in the second half as Liam Gillion scored the sixth goal for the homeside, an amazing free-kick from the edge of the box and placed in the top corner of the net before Bidois scored his fifth goal.

Fiji conceded an own goal via Inoke Turagalailai in the 78th minute while substitute Keegan Kelly scored the eighth goal for New Zealand ensuring them a spot in the Olympics for the second time.

Fiji: Aydin Mustahib (GK), Brendan McMullen, Inoke Turagalailai, Thomas Dunn, Aporosa Yada, Mohammed Muzakkir-Nabeel, Nabil beg, Mohammed Yunus Atiq, Etonia Dogalau (C), Mohammed Raheem, Sterling Vasconcellous.

New Zealand: Alex Paulsen (GK), Zac Zoricich, Finn Surman (C), Campbell Strong, Liam Gillion, Riley Bidois, Willem Ebbinge, Lukas Kelly-Herald, Aryan Raj, Jesse Randall, Luis Toomey.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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