Fiji Secures Semifinal Spot with Dominant Victory

Fiji has secured a place in the semifinals of the OFC Men’s U-19 Championship in Samoa after a commanding 6-1 victory over Vanuatu in their final group match.

Following a 3-0 defeat to the Solomon Islands, the team coached by Marika Rodu needed a substantial win to advance to the elimination stage.

Midfielder Ibrahim Afazal was the standout performer, scoring twice and playing a crucial role in setting up the other four goals.

Vanuatu took an early lead in the fourth minute with a goal from Glen Maki. However, Fiji quickly responded with Captain Penisoni Tirau scoring an equalizer via a free header from an Afazal free-kick.

In the 25th minute, Eparama Moraica’s strong run into the box allowed him to pass the ball to Afazal, who scored with a first-time attempt.

Shortly after, Afazal netted his second goal of the match with a powerful shot from distance that stunned Vanuatu’s goalkeeper Joseph Nakou.

Co-Captain Sterling Vasconcellos added Fiji’s fourth goal just before halftime, heading in an Afazal corner kick.

In the second half, Vasconcellos scored another header from an Afazal set-piece. Defender William Khan sealed the result for Fiji with a header from a corner in the final moments, marking his first goal for the national team.

This victory propels Fiji to the top of Group A with six points. The outcome of the Tahiti-Solomon Islands match will determine if Fiji qualifies as the first or second team in the group. Meanwhile, Vanuatu, after suffering three consecutive losses, will compete in the play-off for seventh place.

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