Tahiti thumped hosts Fiji 3-nil and secured bronze in the OFC Under 17 Championship play-off at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva today.
Despite a goalless first half, Tahiti played with a lot of urgency and determination to match the pace and skills of the men in white jersey.
Fijian Skipper Aron Naicker and forward Prashant Kumar threatened the Tahitian defense with some early attacks but the brilliance of Argan Clodic-Bouchers in goal kept them at bay.
Early in the match, match official Calvin Berge flashed a yellow card each to Delon Shankar and Tahitian Hikutini Tamarii for foul play.
A few minutes later, Fijian coach Sunil Kumar replaced Shankar in place of Richard Swami to add more experience and spark to the attack force.
Early in the second spell, Fijian goalkeeper Kartik Sharma made his debut from the bench replacing Koro.
Vaitea Seguy opened Tahiti’s account in the 49th minute after neatly finishing off a through pass from Titouan Guillemant leaving the Fijian defenders stunned.
Five minutes later, left footy Guillemant doubled the lead for Tahiti after some blunder by the Fijian defenders in front of the goalmouth.
Soon after, debutant goalie Sharma was taken off the field after sustaining a shoulder injury; he was replaced by reserve goalkeeper Savenaca Nabati while Vinayak Rao replaced Peni Misipopi.
Coming off the bench, hardworking attacker Ariiheivarau Tama extended the lead for Tahiti after finding the back of the net with a powerful shot in the 67th minute.
Fiji tried to get back in the match through Jacon Seininawanawa and Nirav Kumar but Clodic-Bouchers daringly punched the ball away from the goalmouth.
Fiji: Illisoni Koro (GK) (Kartik Sharma) (Savenaca Nabati), Aron Naicker ©, Isimeli Gavidi, Ibraheem Afazal, Delon Shankar (Richard Swami), Watisoni Batirererga, Peni Misipopi (Vinayak Rao), Neeraj Sharma, William Khan, Jacon Seininawanawa, Nirav Kumar
Subs: Sahil Deo, Prashant Kumar, Vilikesa Vosagaga
Tahiti: Argan Clodic-Bouchers (GK), Hitimoana Teuira ©, Titouan Guillemant, Vaitea Seguy, Thibaut Geny, Hikutini Tamarii, Kanoa Barsina’s, Eden Cadousteau, Keanan Faure, Teriitaumatatini Martin (Ariiheivarau Tama)
Subs: Keahi Teanania, Niuhau Firiapu, Manua Brillant, Keanu Lecoutre, Tuarii Rota, Tahiarii Teriitemataua, Turerearii Vonbalou, Noarii Cuneo, Dylan Hutia