June 11, 2017
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New Caledonia beats Fiji

The Vodafone Fiji football team suffered a 2-1 loss against New Caledonia in their World Cup Qualifier away match at Stade Numa Daly in Noumea today.

Coach Christophe Gamel tried a few new combinations in the match as he had striker Setareki Hughes out with a dislocated elbow and his replacement Andrew Naicker could not fly with the team after facing some problems with his immigration clearance.

Rewa utiliy Epeli Saukuru partnered Saula Waqa upfront while Roy Krishna was again relegated to the bench.

Laitia Tuilau started ahead of Kolinio Sivoki in the defence while Waisake Tabucava made his first international start on the right midfield.

Kavaia Rawaqa started at left back and Laisenia Raura moved into midfield to combine with Amani Makoe.

Captain and goalkeeper Tevita Koroi denied the hosts three good chances in the opening quarter of the match while Saukuru and Waqa missed two scoring opportunities for Fiji.

A handball inside the Fijian box by Rawaqa saw New Caledonia get a penalty in the 42nd minute and Emile Ounei made no mistake with his attempt to give his side a 1-0 halftime lead.

The Fijians introduced Krishna upfront in place of lanky Waqa and Dave Radrigai replaced Raura to add more speed and spark to the attack.

Saukuru managed to level scores for Fiji in the 66th minute but a lapse of concentration in defence saw the New Caledonians regain their lead six minutes later as Richard Sele slammed the ball into the back of the net from a follow-up attempt.

Fiji toiled hard for the equalizer but some excellent saves by 19-year-old goalkeeper Mickael Ulile kept the scores intact.

The match brought down the curtains to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifiers - Stage 3 Group A competition with Fiji finishing at the bottom (1 point), behind winners New Zealand (10 points) and New Caledonia (5 points).

The teams:

New Caledonia- Mickael Ulile, Romaric Walone, Pierre Kauma, Jeremie Dokunengo,  Joel Wakanumune (C), Mone Wamowe, Richard Sele, Joseph Athale, Cedrick Sansor, Emile Ounei, Roy Kayara.

Vodafone Fiji- Tevita Koroi (C), Kavaia Rawaqa, Remueru Tekiate, Christopher Wasasala, Epeli Saukuru, Amani Makoe (Iosefo Verevou), Waisake Tabucava, Saula Waqa (Roy Krishna), Laitia Tuilau, Samuela Kautoga, Laisenia Naioko (Dave Radrigai).

By Reginald Chandar

 

 


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