September 22, 2022
Young Ba marksman Nabil Begg has sent Fiji Under 19 into the FIFA Under 19 World Cup and Oceania Football Confederation Under 19 final after beating New Caledonia 1-nil in the semi-final in Tahiti today.
Both teams remained goalless in the first 45 minutes despite Melvin Mani showing a constant threat and saw his free-kick well saved by Wareen Hlupa within the opening two minutes.
However, Fiji's best chance of the opening period came from the head of Mohammed Raheem. His towering effort bounced up and onto the bar before being hooked off the line by the desperate defending of Bertrand Katrawa.
Mani came close to breaking the deadlock on three more occasions in the first 45 minutes, including a smart turn and strike which was well saved by Hlupa on the brink of half-time.
Jymaël Upa, Paul Jone and Yannick Ipunesso all tested Fiji stopper Aydin Mustahib as they improved on their first-half showing.
Early in the second stanza Fijian Captain Samuela Navoce was flashed a yellow card for foul play.
It was a cross from Lautoka youngster Gulam Rasool that saw Begg tap the ball into the net and ensure Fiji into their first OFC U-19 Championship 2022 final in 20 years.
A few minutes later, Begg was shown a yellow card for a dangerous play.
Fiji will meet either New Zealand or Tahiti, who face off in today’s other semi-final, in the final on Saturday at 8 pm local time while New Caledonia will face the loser of that game in the third place playoff.
By Romeka Romena