VAKATALESAU DOUBLE SENDS FIJI INTO SEMI-FINALS
Osea Vakatalesau's rich vein of form continued at the XIII South Pacific Games - Samoa 2007 with a brace that sent Fiji into semi-final ecstasy and condemned Tahiti to elimination. Fiji were always in the driving seat of this match as Tahiti struggled to contain the fluid and imaginative passing movement of a team getting better with each match.
As for Tahiti the less said about their troubled tournament, the better; a 1-0 loss to French-speaking rivals New Caledonia, a draw with non-FIFA affiliated Tuvalu and this comprehensive defeat at the hands of semi-final bound Fiji. It can only get better for the team from French-Polynesia who have suffered from the loss of Naea Bennett who didn't make the final squad for Samoa.
Taniela Waqa got the evening underway with a blistering free kick that he blazed past the Tahiti wall into the back of the net from an acute angle. Tahiti's body language told the story a Fiji stepped up a gear and the Tahitian's began trying any means to halt the tide of black and white attack resulting in the expulsion of Stephane Gelima after 35 minutes for his second bookable offence.
Ronil Kumar put Fiji two nil ahead when he fired an inviting cross into the path of Pita Balietoga on 38 minutes. Vakatalesau took only 3 minutes of the second half to make it 3-0 and the rout was completed when the Ba striker grabbed his second and Fiji's fourth on 73 minutes to send out a signal to the rest of the field that Fiji are worth their favourites tag.
Fiji finish their campaign against New Caledonia in what amounts to a playoff for which opponent from Group B they will face off against in the semi-finals. Tahiti complete their sorry campaign with a tricky clash against Cook Islands needing to win to finish in third spot.
5' - the lights are on and the match is off to a sedate start, though by the line-ups Fiji should dominate
6' - #13. Taniela WAQA receives a yellow card
8' - Salesh Kumar blasts a well-positioned free kick straight into the Tahitian wall
12' - a free kick to the far post is dealt with well by Xavier Samin
15' - Pita Rabo shoots across goal for Fiji, with Jean-Yves Li Wa Ut getting a touch to send the ball for a corner
16' - Tahiti #5. Stephane GELIMA receives a yellow card for a foul on the edge of the box
17' - GOAL!
#13. Taniela WAQA strikes a thunderbolt of a free kick into the top right corner leaving Samin stranded
20 - Fiji captain Peni Finau rises well to head clear a dangerous high ball into the Fiji area with 'keeper Simione Tamanisau off his line
22' - #14. Neuffer TAUFA brings Finau down in the centre circle and receives a yellow card
27' - Osea Vakatalesau has a moment to gain balance before shooting, but the attempt at goal is deflected for a corner
35' - RED CARD!
#5. Stephane GELIMA brings down Pita Baleitoga with Fiji on the break, and receives his second yellow
33' - #15. Salesh KUMAR receives a yellow card
34' - another yellow card for Fiji, #8. Pita BALEITOGA going in the book this time
34' - Tamanisau is out to punch a cross well and release the ball downfield to settle play
35' - Axel Williams meets a low cross on the six yard box, but the ball clears the crossbar by some distance
38' - GOAL!
Ronil Kumar breaks into the Tahitian area and squares for #8. Pita BALEITOGA to side-foot his finish
41' - Tamanisau is caught at the top of his box, and Axel Williams has a clear run on goal but Malakai Kainihewe shows superb commitment to slide in and send the ball for a corner
43' - Teva Zaveroni stays down after a foul to earn both teams another warning from the referee
44' - Angelo Tchen gives away a free kick right on the right edge of the Tahitian area, but the danger is well cleared by Li Wa Ut
45' - Ronil Kumar narrowly misses with a snapped shot from an angle
45+1' - Salesh KUMAR is taken from the game, for #11. Thomas VULIVULI
HALF TIME: TAH 0 FIJ 2
49' - GOAL!
#10. Osea VAKATALESAU is left wide open at the far post, and curls the ball inside the far post
52' - Vakatalesau, Tiwa, and Kumar combine well to have the Tahitians scrambling, but Kumar is caught offside retrieving a rebounded shot from Pita Rabo
60' - Fiji seem content with the three goal margin, and seem to have shut up shop
61' - yellow card to Fiji's #7. Ratu Inosi VATUCICILA
62' - Fiji break down the left again, but Samin produces a fantastic double-handed save to his left to deny Vulivuli's finish
67' - #4. Samuela VULA is replaced by #3. Waisake SABUTU
70' - #10. Raimoana BENNETT makes way for #13. Temarii TINORUA
70' - a Fiji free kick given for a foul on Peni Finau at the edge of the area is headed away well by Axel Williams
73' - GOAL!
#10. Osea VAKATALESAU takes a magnificent touch to bring down a defensive clearance, beat his marker for pace and fire a finish at Samin, whose touch is not enough to prevent the ball nestling in at the far post
73' - Peni Finau re-enters the field of play following the injury to his right knee
76' - Billy Mataitai makes a useful run down Tahiti's right flank, but Sabutu is dominant in the tackle
78' - Samin leaves his line courageously to punch a Fiji cross clear
80' - a Tahiti corner is cleated directly to Vakatalesau, who runs from halfway but loses his touch into the penalty area
81' - Angelo Tchen stays down with an injury, but refuses to leave on a stretcher
85' - #18. Axel WILLIAMS receives a yellow card
85' - Tchen is back on the field after his injury
-- 3 minutes added time --
90'+2 - #10. Osea VAKATALESAU is shown a yellow card for remonstrating when Finau is blocked pursuing an under-hit back pass
90+4' - #11 Auguste WASHETINE is shown a yellow card for bringing down Malakai Tiwa after he had rounded the Tahitian defender
FULL TIME: TAH 0 FIJ 4
XIII SOUTH PACIFIC GAMES - SAMOA 2007
Men's Group A
Match Day 4 - 1800 - 1 September 2007
Toleafoa J.S. Blatter Football Fields - Apia - Samoa
TAHITI: 3. Jean-Yves LI WA UT; 5. Stephane GELIMA; 7. Billy MATAITAI; 10. Raimoana BENNETT (13. Temarii TINORUA 70'); 11. Auguste WASHETINE; 12. Hiro POROIAE; 14. Neuffer TAUFA (8. Jerome TETAVAHI 63'); 18. Axel WILLIAMS; 20. Teva ZAVERONI [c]; 21. Angelo TCHEN; 23. Xavier SAMIN [gk].
Coach: Gerard KAUTAI
Substitutes not used: 1. Jonathan TOROHIA [gk]; 2. Teraimaru MERVIN; 4. Freddy TAUIMARA; 22. Daniel TAPETA [gk].
Injured: 6. Samuel GARCIA; 9. Raimana LI FUNG KEE; 15. Farahia TEUIRA; 19. Axel TEMATAUA.
Cautions: 5. Stephane GELIMA (16', 31'); 14. Neuffer TAUFA (22'); 18. Axel WILLIAMS (85'); 20. Teva ZAVERONI (90'); 11. Auguste WASHETINE (90'+4).
Red cards: 5. Stephane GELIMA (31').
FIJI: 1. Simione TAMANISAU [gk]; 4. Samuela VULA (3. Waisake SABUTU 67'); 5. Ronil KUMAR; 8. Pita BALEITOGA; 10. Osea VAKATALESAU; 12. Peni FINAU; 13. Taniela WAQA (7. Ratu Iniosi VATUCICILA 53'); 15. Salesh KUMAR (11. Thomas VULIVULI 46'); 16. Malakai TIWA; 17. Malakai KAINIHEWE; 18. Pita RABO.
Coach: Juan Carlos BUZZETTI
Substitutes not used: 2. Alvin AVINESH; 6. Lorima DAU; 9. Josaia BUKALIDI; 14. Viliame TOMA; 19. Roy KRISHNA; 20. Benamino MATEINAQARA [gk].
Cautions: 13. Taniela WAQA (6'); 15. Salesh KUMAR (33'); 8. Pita BALEITOGA (34'); 7. Ratu Inosi VATUCICILA (61'); 10. Osea VAKATALESAU (90'+2).
Goal scorers: 13. Taniela WAQA (17'); 8. Pita BALEITOGA (38'); 10. Osea VAKATALESAU (49', 73').
Referee: Neil FOX (NZL)
Assistant Referee: Nick WALDRON (NZL)
Assistant Referee: Mahit CHILIA (VAN)
Fourth Official: Job Ponis MINAN (PNG)