Caption: God bless Fiji… The Vodafone Fiji under-20 side singing the National Anthem before the kick-off. Photo: ANUSHIL KUMAR.
By ANUSHIL KUMAR
The Vodafone Fiji side recorded their third consecutive win in the OFC under-20 Championship after beating Papua New Guinea 3-0 at ANZ Stadium in Suva today, May 27.
Having six points already in their bag, the hosts entered the field with the tag of match favourites as coach Ravinesh Kumar expected a tough battle.
It was in the 43rd minute when Altaaf Sahib opened the floodgates following a well-timed cross from Nickel Chand as two PNG defenders failed to clear the ball as Fiji enjoyed a 1-0 lead at the breather.
With motivating words from coach Wynton Rufer, the PNG’s tried to fight back into the second half, but it was Mataiasi Toma who broke the hearts of the visitors with his well-timed header in the 55th minute to put Fiji up on scoresheet.
Introduction of Ashneel Raju made a quick impact in the 76th minute as he laid-out a pass inside the PNG box to Saula Waqa who neatly placed the ball past goalkeeper Gibson Jimmy putting the final nail on their coffin.
Fiji coach Ravinesh Kumar was happy with his boys as he got the much needed three points.
“I am happy with the way my boys played the game today and the final score says it all,” Kumar said.
“We came today to get the three points and we got it.” He added.
PNG coach Wynton Rufer said small mistakes against Fiji costed them the game.
“The boys played well but defensive blunders and small mistakes made the overall difference in the game,” Rufer said.
Wynton tagged Fiji’s Praneel Naidu as the best player of the Championship so far.
Vodafone Fiji plays Vanuatu in its fourth match at 5pm on Thursday while PNG will face New Caledonia at 7.30pm.