OFC Nations Cup 2002
Auckland, New Zealand 5-14 July
Match 7, Day Four (Monday 8 July):
Group A - Ericsson Stadium
Final Score: Fiji 0 vs Vanuatu 1
(Halftime: 0-1 Vanuatu)
Historic victory sets up crucial Fiji-Socceroos clash
By Peter Rees - OFC Media Officer
Long serving Fijian coach Billy Singh is now faced with the daunting task of
having to beat the Australian Socceroos in their last Group A match on
Wednesday 10 July.
That comes after the first real upset of the tournament; Vanuatu scoring the
only goal in the sixth minute of the match to steal victory from the more
fancied Fijians. The win was Vanuatus first over Fiji since 1990. The two
teams last played each other two years ago at the Melanesian Cup with Fiji
winning on that occasion.
The mathematicians will no doubt conjure up other possible outcomes but
there is no denying that Fiji must now beat Australia to qualify for the OFC
Nations Cup semi-finals this Friday.
Though victory seems a mission impossible - especially after the Socceroos
impressive 11-0 drubbing of New Caledonia - Singh does not doubt it can
We wouldnt be here if we didnt think we could win, he said afterwards in
a tense press conference room at Ericsson Stadium.
Fiji captain Esala Masi, who was largely shut out of the match, responded
that they would be approaching the Socceroos match like any other match.
Masi also complimented the Vanuatu team, calling them a well organized.
Singh said the shock loss was more his teams fault than the Vanuatu team
We played badly, he said.
Vanuatu coach Carlos Buzzetti was happy with the win, but not happy at some
decisions by the referee that he did not agree on. Willie August Marango
scored to give Vanuatu an early lead but there was no more scoring after
that - though there were plenty of opportunities.
With his cousin being closely marked, Manoa Masi came close on two occasions
but Vanuatu goalkeeper David Chilia again showed his class by keeping out
those attempts and several other half-chances.
Richard Iwais injection into the game in the 72nd minute added more
firepower up front and he came close to scoring after a scintillating drive
in the 86th minute with his shot just going wide of the goal. Wilkins Simon
Lauru also came close to extending the lead but his shot was saved in
spectacular fashion by the Fijian goalkeeper.
The result confirms Vanuatus emergence to the top rung in the island
nations, which will hopefully be reflected in the next FIFA ranking which
currently places them below Samoa! In the past year, Vanuatu has made finals
appearances in the OFC U-16 and OFC Club Championship. A heavy emphasis on
youth development, vital FIFA financial assistance and the pending
construction of new facilities under the FIFA Goal Programme has also had an
Vanuatu plays New Caledonia in its last Group A match on Wednesday.
6 min: # 6 Willie August Marango Fiji 0 Vanuatu 1
58 min - # 18 Veresa Toma for # 17 Malakai Kainihewe
60 min - # 11 Lorima Dau for # 14 Jope Namawa
77 min - # 19 Sailesh Samy Bula for # 15 Stewart Bola
70 min - # 15 Pita David Maki for # 11 Maki Gerard Haitong
72 min - # 14 Richard Iwai for # 18 Jean Robert Yelou
81 min - # 17 Alphonse Welin Qorig for # 19 Philip Tomake
Yellow - # 11 Maki Gerard Haitong VANUATU (39)
Yellow - # 12 Graham Demas VANUATU (70)
Yellow - # 9 Junior Bukalidi FIJI (76)
Vanuatu: 1. David Chilia 4. Wilkins Simon Lauru 5. Lexa Bule Bibi 6. Willie
August Marango 9. Seimata Chilia 10. Etienne Mermer 11. Maki Gerard Haitong
12. Graham Demas 16. Daniel Koko Alick 18. Jean Robert Yelou 19. Philip
BENCH: 2. Ken Masauvakalo 3. Manley Junior Tabe 7. Fedy Vava 8. Ali Silas
13. Sandy Alex Alick 14. Richard Iwai 15. Pita David Maki 17. Alphonse Welin
Qorig 20. John Presley Garae
Coach: Carlos Buzzetti
Fiji: 1. Laisena Tuba 2. Viliame Toma 5. Valerio Nasema 7. Manoa Masi 8.
Emosi Baleinuku 9. Junior Bukaudi 10. Keni Doidoi 12. Esala Masi 14. Jope
Namawa 15. Stewart Bola 17. Malakai Kainihewe
BENCH: 3. Ovini Duguca 4. Seveci Rokotakala 11. Lorima Dau 16. Apenisa
Qereqeretabua 18. Veresa Toma 19. Sailesh Samy Bula 20. Luke Tavuyara
Coach: Billy Singh
Referee: Joakim Sosogan (PNG)
Assistant Referee 1: Malo Vaga (Samoa)
Assistant Referee 2: Michel Angot (Tahiti)
Fourth Official: Charles Ariiotima (Tahiti)
Match Commissioner: Lee Harmon (Cook Islands)
Referee Inspector: Doug Rennie (Australia)
Weather: cold, some rain, not much wind
Start time: 5:00pm