Phototek Credit: OFC Media via Phototek
Fiji have bounced back from their opening day defeat by the Solomon Islands to beat Tonga 21-3 at the OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup in Papeete, Tahiti.
The Tongans who had been thumped 26-3 by powerhouse Tahiti on the opening day again struggled against the physical Fijians.
Ravneel Pal opened the scoring for Fiji after a minute when Tongan keeper Justin Toetu’u couldn’t control a cross, and Pal was on hand to nod home. Tevita Waranaivalu scored the second in the 5th minute and Bruce Hughes knocked in the third from a freekick two minutes later.
A sweeping run and cross from Rajneel Singh was finished off by Rusiate Matarerega before Waranaivalu had his second with the best strike of the first period and Hughes scored again before Gabriele Matanisiga rounded out the first stanza scoring.
The onslaught continued early in the second period when Matanisiga had his second a minute after the restart with a blistering strike into the top corner of the goal and he completed his hat-trick a couple of minutes later.
Waranaivalu had his hattrick after 17 minutes when his long-range effort bobbled over the despairing Lemeki Taufa in the Tongan goal. The Tongans never gave up and were rewarded when Justin Toetu’u who had started in goal, scored in the 19th minute but further Fijian goals to Merrill Nand, Matarerega and Rajneel Singh extended the lead further. Sione Tutone did add a second for Tonga just before the end of the second period.
Matanisiga had his fourth in the opening minute of the final period before Waranaivalu not to be outdone had his fourth a minute later. The goals kept coming as the Tongan defence tired. Matanisiga and Waranaivalu topped the goal scoring charts for Fiji with five each with Matanisiga named player of the match.
Hosts Tahiti meet the Solomon Islands in the second match of the day.
Tomorrow’s matches see the Solomon Islands play Tonga at 2pm (Tahiti time) before Tahiti meets Fiji at 4 pm. The winner of the tournament this weekend will represent Oceania at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Dubai in February.
Tonga: 3 ( Justin TOETU’U 19’, Sione TUTONE 24’, Mosese ULAVALU 27’)
Fiji: 21 (Ravneel PAL 1’, 28’, Tevita WARANAIVALU 4’, 6’, 17’, 27’, 34’, Bruce HUGHES 5’, 9’, Rusiate MATAREREGA 7’, 22’, 27’, 30′, Gabiriele MATANISIGA 12’, 13’, 15’, 26’, 32’, Merrill NAND 21’, Rajneel SINGH 24’, Madhwan GOUNDER 28’)