Oceania Football Confederation > News > Pacific Games New Caledonia 2011 > Tahiti and Fiji earn bronze medals

Tahiti and Fiji earn bronze medals

The women’s play-off between Fiji and Tonga opened the day while the men’s clash featuring Tahiti and Fiji rounded off the action in the afternoon at Stade Boewa in Boulari.
The confidence stocks of the Fiji women would not have been high after a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of defending champions Papua New Guinea in their semi-final and they would also have been wary of the threat posed by Tonga after losing to the same opponents 4-1 in their opening outing.
But Usenio Logaivou’s side have improved steadily since their disappointing start and went on to post three wins in a row, an impressive run rudely interrupted by that semi-final blip.
Earning the bronze would have been an ideal way to ease the pain of that loss and Fiji looked on track to do just that when they took the lead in spectacular fashion in the 27th minute.
There appeared to be little danger when Priya Singh picked the ball up fully 40 yards from goal but she decided to try her luck anyway and the ambitious effort paid off handsomely by sailing past Tonga goalkeeper Lupe Likiliki.
Fiji attempted to extend their lead in the second period as Tonga looked to get back into the game but, despite plenty of chances and open football in an entertaining match, the scorers were not troubled again as the new bronze medallists earned their revenge for that group stage loss.
The Fiji men couldn’t follow the example set by their female counterparts in the second game of the day, however, going down 2-1 to Tahiti after playing with only 10 men for much of the match.
Seveci Rokotakala was sent off just before the break – Fiji were 1-0 down at that point after falling behind to a Stanley Atani goal in just the fifth minute – and it was always going to be a hard task for them to claw themselves back with a numerical disadvantage.
But Fiji managed to do just that in the 58th minute when Alvin Avinesh turned home a corner at the far post with the help of a deflection.
Any hopes they may have had of earning an against-the-odds win were dashed just seven minutes later though when Lorenzo Tehau was played in on goal and coolly slotted home past Fiji goalkeeper Benaminio Mateinaqara.
Their newly-acquired bronze is the third of Tahiti’s Pacific Games history while this is the second time the Fiji women have earned third place.

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