Fiji and Solomon Islands opened their Pacific Mini Games campaigns with 8-0 victories over Tuvalu and Tonga respectively as the football competition in Vanuatu got underway on Saturday.
Home side Vanuatu also started with a win thanks to a late strike giving them a 2-1 victory over New Caledonia in the last encounter on Saturday.
Christopher Wasasala opened the scoring for Fiji in just the 2nd minute of the match in what would be the first of four goals for the striker on Day 1. Former Fiji U-20 striker Saula Waqa secured a hat-trick, while a goal to Rusiate Matarerenga rounded out the goal scoring.
Solomon Islands shared out the scoring when they put eight unanswered goals past Tonga in the day’s second match.
Once again the opening goal came within the first five minutes as Jerry Donga put one past Mahe Malafu. Veteran Benji Totori struck twice in quick succession in the first half.
Tonga held out strong in the second half, keeping Solomon Islands at bay until the 71st minute when substitute Adrian Rickson found the back of the net. This goal opened the floodgates once more as Gagame Feni struck twice, and Tutizama Tanito scored one, before Rickson put the eighth and final goal in.
The day’s final match was the best attended of the day with almost 5000 packing into Port Vila Stadium to watch the home side Vanuatu take on New Caledonia.
Alex Saniel was first on the board on the stroke of 30 minutes with a walloping strike taking Vanuatu into the break with a one goal lead.
New Caledonia’s equaliser came in the second half courtesy of Magenta’s Shene Welepane.
A short time after the equaliser New Caledonia found themselves down to 10 men after a second yellow card for Johanes Bernole saw him take a walk.
Despite being a man down, it looked like New Caledonia might manage to hold on for a share of the points, but for super sub Azariah Soromon who made his entrance in the 89th minute, replacing Elikington Molivakarua, and scoring three minutes later to the delight of the local fans.
The men’s competition continues on Tuesday 5 December with Tuvalu taking on New Caledonia at Korman Stadium at 7pm. On Wednesday 6 December Solomon Islands play Fiji at 4pm and Vanuatu take on Tonga at 7pm again at Korman Stadium.