Photo Credit: OFC Media via Christophe Fotozz
A hat-trick from midfielder Luse Ratulele and a brace each to forwards Sisilia Kuladina and Elesi Tabunase have helped Fiji secure an emphatic 11-3 win over Vanuatu in their opening Group B match in at Stade Pater in Papeete.
Angeline Chua’s side possess plenty of pace and it was evident from the outset as Fiji completely dominated the encounter.
Fiji made a dream start when Makareta Theresa’s left foot shot squeezed under a diving Vanuatu goalkeeper Jenifer Homu. Six minutes later it was two as Sisilia Kuladina made a scything run into the box and her deflected shot left Homu with no chance.
Homu soon left the field with a shoulder injury and was replaced by Daniella Harry.
Fiji continued to dominate and won a penalty in the 22nd minute when Caroline Qalivere outsprinted the defence down the left and was cut down inside the box to win a penalty.
However Kuladina pulled the spot kick to the left of the left-hand post and the score remained at 2-0. But it didn’t take Fiji long to extend their lead as captain Kasanita Tabua set Elesi Tabunase up a couple of minutes later for a lovely right foot finish past Harry in the 26th minute.
The onslaught continued as the Vanuatu defence was opened again with Luse Ratulele on hand to score Fiji’s fourth goal a minute later.
Vanuatu pulled a goal back when Valeri Tari pounced on a mistake by Fijian defender Sereima Nauci 10 minutes from halftime to beat Fijian goalkeeper Rosalain Sarahphina to the loose pass and guide into the net.
Fiji made a rocketing start to the second half with Tabunase on hand to score her second of the match after her first shot smashed against the crossbar, she followed up the rebound to make it 5-1 in the 48th minute.
Shellshocked Vanuatu had no time to recovery, a comedy of errors in the defensive line saw Caroline Qalivere beat a stranded Harry in the Vanuatu goal.
Kuladina had her second of the game 10 minutes into the second half as Fiji ran rampant.
Vanuatu managed a second goal when Morin Takau made a strong run down the right and fired her shot just inside the upright beating Sarahphina in the Fiji goal.
Ratulele has her second 10 minutes from time running on to a through ball and strike to the left of Harry before Vanuatu scored their third two minutes later with Takau netting her second of the game. There was still time for late strikes from captain Kasanita Tabua and Ratulele to complete her hat-trick before Tabua grabbed her second with virtually the last kick of the game.
Fiji: 11 (Makareta THERESA 2’, Sisilia KULADINA 8’, 55’, Elesi TABUNASE 26’, 48’, Luse RATULELE 27’, 80’, 89′, Caroline QALIVERE 55’, Kasanita TABUA 86′, 90+3′)
Vanuatu: 3 (Valerie TARI 36’, Morin TAKAU 68,’ 82’)