Fiji Survive Tough Challenge By Png
Vanuatu ran away with a convincing 9-1 win over American Samoa while Fiji survived a fierce challenge from the improving Papua New Guinea to win their first up match 4-2 in round 2 action of the Stage 1 (Group 2) Oceania Nations Cup/World Cup preliminaries in Apia, Samoa today.
OFC Release: Vanuatu ran away with a convincing 9-1 win over American Samoa while Fiji survived a fierce challenge from the improving Papua New Guinea to win their first up match 4-2 in round 2 action of the Stage 1 (Group 2) Oceania Nations Cup/World Cup preliminaries in Apia, Samoa today.
Vanuatu led 3-1 at half-time. Etienne Mermer scored a hat-trick for Vanuatu with Alphose Qorig and Jean Maleb chipping in with doubles. Moise Poida and Seimata Chilia also scored goals.
American Samoa's only goal in the first half came from a Vanuatu own goal which came about from a corner. PNG sniffed a rare upset when they took the early lead against Fiji. However, both sides went into the break with the scores locked at 2-2. PNG scored first through Reginald Davani after a good through pass by midfielder Richard Daniel. Fiji equalised with a goal to Pita Rabo. Paul Komboi put PNG back in the lead with his goal with just minutes remaining in the half. But tall Fiji striker Veresa Toma got his side back on equal terms with an opportunist goal just before the half-time whistle.
The second half saw Fiji steadily dominating possession while wearing down the PNG players through their physical superiority. PNG lacked the urgency they displayed the first half and late in the second stanza, Laisiasa Gataurua capitalised on a goalmouth scramble to blast in the goal to put Fiji back in the lead. In the dying minutes, the resurgent Fijians scored the winning goal through Seveci Rokotakala's superb finish over PNG goalkeeper Tapas Posman to put the result beyond doubt.
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