Hosts continue to impress

The hosts continued their hugely impressive start to the tournament with a 9-0 humbling of non-OFC member Guam while the Fiji players also found their goalscoring boots in triumphing 9-0 over Kiribati. Vanuatu and Tahiti likewise enjoyed big successes, 5-1 over Tuvalu and 7-0 against Cook Islands respectively, making Solomon Islands 4-0 dismantling of American Samoa seem like a low-scoring affair.
The plaudits again belonged to the home side though, who backed up their 5-0 opening win against Vanuatu with another slick display to outclass a Guam outfit that worked hard but lacked the ability to trouble Les Cagous. In a stunning individual performance, striker Bertrand Kai led the way with a remarkable five-goal haul while Arsene Boawe, Iamel Kabeu, Joel Wakanumune and Michel Hmae also got on the scoresheet in front of a large Riviere Salée crowd.
There weren’t as many goals in the other two matches played at that venue today but the fans still had plenty to cheer with ten strikes finding the net. Vanuatu, desperate to bounce back from that embarassing defeat to New Caledonia, and Tuvalu opened the action in the morning and the latter’s loss was mostly to do with their failure to keep young forward Jean Kaltak under control.
The teenager, one of the most promising talents in the Oceania region, struck a first-half hat-trick and went on to make it four in the second period while captain Jean Robert Yelou supplemented the scoring with a penalty. Tuvalu did earn some reward for their efforts when Uota Ale got them on the board with one of the last kicks of the game.
The day’s other Group A match at Riviere Salée served to confirm Solomon Islands’ medal-winning potential as they again put plenty of goals away and conceded none. Following up their earlier 7-0 win over Guam, the Bonitos wasted little time in getting amongst the goals again, a double to Joe Lui and further strikes from Benjamin Totori and Jeffrey Bule putting them four up at the break.
But that was how the scoreline remained as American Samoa put in a stoic defensive performance in the second spell to keep their more skilled opponents out.
There was also plenty of action in Group B at the nearby Stade Boewa in Boulari, Fiji beginning play there with their no-nonsense defeat of Kiribati and Tahiti likewise having little trouble against Cook Islands.
New Zealand-based striker Roy Krishna led the way for Fiji with a hat-trick while Maciu Dunadamu found the target twice. Avinesh Swamy, Alvin Avinesh and Tuimasi also scored and the other strike came off a Kiribati boot for an own goal.
While not quite matching Fiji’s earlier exploits, Tahiti were no less impressive in their triumph over Cook Islands, a result that will do wonders for their confidence after a disappointing 3-0 loss to Fiji on the opening day.
It took the Tahitians a while to get going though as a well-organised Cook Islands defence denied them for the entirety of the first half. But Taufa Neuffer finally broke the resistance soon after the restart and from there the goals started pouring in, Steevy Chung Hue and Hiroana Poroiea both grabbing doubles and a Stanley Atany effort and own goal completing the scoring.
The next round of men’s football action at the Pacific Games takes place on Thursday while it is the women’s turn to take centre stage tomorrow.


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