Solomon Islands secure semi-final spot with emphatic victory over Fiji

July 8, 2024 12:42 pm

[Source: OFC Media via Phototek]

Solomon Islands show their class to confirm OFC U-19 Men’s Championship 2024 semi-final spot after 3-0 victory against Fiji in Apia.

There was plenty riding on this match, with Fiji and the Solomon Islands knowing a victory would secure their spot in the semi-finals of the OFC U-19 Men’s Championship.

It didn’t take long for the first shot to be registered, a great through ball put James Laena one-on-one with Fiji’s Illisoni Koro.

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But the ball bobbled as he went to shoot, sending the ball sailing over the crossbar.

[Source: OFC Media via Phototek]

Minutes later, Jayroll Patty’s shot on the 18-yard box took a deflection forcing Koro into a save, he parried the shot to Laena, who got an unkind bounce and again failed to hit the target.

[Source: OFC Media via Phototek]

It was end-to-end action, and again Leena found himself in the thick of it for the Solomon Islands, beating the offside trap, to only send his shot right at the goalkeeper.

Fiji’s first shot on target came in the 21st minute, captain Penisoni Tirau went bearing down on goal, however, he couldn’t manage to dink it over the onrushing Gideon Abidan.

[Source: OFC Media via Phototek]

The Solomon Islands dominance eventually paid off, approaching half-time they were given a free kick on the edge of the box, which Billy Afi tucked into the bottom corner beautifully.

As time almost expired in the first half, the Solomon Islands pinched a well-deserved second goal. A cross in from the right, saw Jimson Abana get up in amongst two Fiji defenders, his header floating over Koro into the back of the net.

[Source: OFC Media via Phototek]

Humid conditions slowed the match right down in the second period, which helped bring Fiji back into the match.

Substitute Eparama Moraica had been a shining light since arriving to the field. After working the ball into the penalty area, Tirau laid it back for Moraica, metres out from the goal he sent his shot sky bound – Fiji’s best chance of the match.

However, the Solomon Islands wrapped up the match in the 83rd minute, Abana going aerial to score a stunning scissor kick to seal an emphatic victory and secure a semi-final place.

[Source: OFC Media via Phototek]

The Solomon Islands still have a final group stage assignment on Thursday when they meet Tahiti. Fiji will need to nurse their wounds with their final match to come, against a Vanuatu who are still in with a chance of making the final four.