Fiji and Vanuatu have ended their Tri-Nations FIFA Friendly International series with a scoreless draw at Port Vila’s Korman Stadium on Monday night.
The Bula Boys, who were looking for their first victory over Vanuatu since 2011, have found themselves on the backfoot in the 25th minute when striker Samuela Drudru received his marching orders from the referee.
And it got worse for the Fijians early in the second half with Kishan Sami’s sending off for his second bookable offence.
However, the hosts couldn’t convert their numerical advantage into goals against their 9-men rivals who showed plenty of courage and determination in front of a jam-packed Korman Stadium.
Goalkeeper Benaminio Mateiniqara produced a number of superb saves to deny the hosts as the Christophe Gamel-coached side battled to hold out the hosts till the final whistle.
At the end of the match the Fijian coach heaped praise on his players.
“I am very happy, the boys played with their heart, and they played with lot of discipline and self-control,” Gamel said.
“We lost two players but the boys continued to play with the shape and game plan we had.
“For me these Fijians are like the movie Spartans, they protected the goal like they protect their own house and I give my big respect to them for this,” added the coach.
Fiji, Vanuatu and Tahiti, which earlier lost to the hosts 2-0 and drew with the Fijians 1-1, have all used the Tri-Nations series as preparations for the for the upcoming Pacific Games which begins next month.
Meanwhile, Fiji’s Women’s national team’s will go into next month’s Games in Samoa high on confidence following a 3-1 win over Singapore and a 1-0 victory over Vanuatu in their Tri-Nations FIFA International Friendly tournament in Port Vila.
(Fiji’s Sofi Diyalowai with the ball against Vanuatu)