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Pride, semi-final places at stake in Group B

Pride is on the line for Papua New Guinea and Tonga as they wrap-up their campaign while Fiji will be challenging Vanuatu for Group B placement at the OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifier 2019 to decide who to play New Zealand and the Solomon Islands in the semi-final next week in Lautoka.

Heading into the final match day pointless, Papua New Guinea and Tonga are all determined to finish their tournament on a high note with at least a win.

Papua New Guinea is coming into this encounter at the back of a very gallant performance against Fiji in the midweek clash.

The Melanesians will take a lot of positives from their opening two matches and coach Percy Mataio said his team will maintain a competitive mindset against the Tongans.

“We will still positive about everything, we will continue to improve going into the Tongan game,” he insisted.

“Everybody like I said earlier on, they came here to compete and they will compete and so will PNG.”

Dubbed as the underdogs in this group, the Kingdom of Tonga will be looking to take the bragging rights off their Melanesian opponents.

Timote Moleni, Tonga coach is thankful for his boys, for showing their fighting spirit in their two defeats so far in this competition.

He is adamant that Tonga will improve their defense and try as much as possible to nick a goal when the chances arise.

“I want to thank my boys for giving their best, they have worked hard especially for the defending,” he said.

Both Fiji and Vanuatu have already secured their spots in the semi-finals with Group A top two teams New Zealand and the Solomon Islands.

However, the stakes are high for both Melanesian archrivals with first and second placements in Group B on offer.

The hosts are keen to finish top of the group and standing in their way is a strong Vanuatu side.

Fiji coach Marika Rodu said it will be an uphill battle to get past Vanuatu knowing very well what his team is up against come Saturday.

“What is important now is to make sure we prepare well for the last game because the idea is we want to lead the pool,” he said.

“It’s going to be a tough game against Vanuatu but overall the boys need to step up in the next game.”

Rodu added that Vanuatu is a well gel team with so much experience playing at the top level.

Thus, the Fijian tactician is optimistic his lads have what it takes to get a positive result against their Group B adversaries.

“They have scored some big goals, they won two matches and they are pretty much a very experienced and well gel team that’s something which is good and interesting,” Rodu explained.

“Playing a team that’s offensively very creative but looking at their two games their defensive were not pressured that much.

“Those are some of the questions we need to ask if we can penetrate their defense and create the scoring opportunities but on the other hand we need to improve on our defense as well”.

Expectations on the Vanuatu team is high for them to do well in this competition and they leave up to the billing with convincing wins against Papua New Guinea and Tonga.

Vanuatu played some eye-catching football over the past couple of days in Lautoka and like the hosts, Vanuatu will be aiming to finish top of the group.

Vanuatu coach Etienne Mermer said the job is not done despite already guarantee a place in the semi-finals.

“We believe we are already in the semi-final but it’s not finished yet as we switch our focus on Fiji,” he said.

“We will prepare for Fiji, I know it will not be easy for us but we will try our best to be top of this pool”.

Mermer rested some of his key players against Tonga in preparation for the crucial encounter with Fiji.

“I was resting some of my players just to let them get enough rest to meet Fiji in the last game,” he added.

“I think it’s good for us to look forward to the next game and see where our problem is to improve our game”.

Additional Information

Papua New Guinea vs Tonga
Saturday 28 September
Churchill Park
Lautoka, FIJI KO: 12:00

Click on link for the live stream: https://bit.ly/2nlz4jF

Match Officials
Referee:  Campbell-Kirk KAWANA-WAUGH [NZL]
Assistant Referee 1:  Philippe REVEL [TAH]
Assistant Referee 2: John PAREANGA [COK]
Fourth Official: Nick WALDRON [NZL]

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – 1. Jordan TOBEM (GK), 2. Peter DABINYABA JR, 3. Carlos ONNE, 4. Gimale ESSACU, 5. Rupa EMIL, 6. Timothy MALI, 7. Gregory TOGUBAI, 8. Freddy KEPO, 9. Pokana MEA , 10. Frank TOBOROYAN, 11. Bernard PURARI, 12. Emmanuel SIMONGI, 13. Joseph WAIWAI, 14. Gabby YANUM, 15. Yagi YASASA, 16. Tyran VAPARA, 17. Edward JOSHUA, 18. Jonathan POLE (GK), 19. Ernest GWAITEP, 20. Jerry SERIBA (GK)

Head Coach: Percy MATAIO (PNG)

TONGA – 1. Mahe MALAFU (GK) 2. Tevita VAKATAPU, 3. Nicolas VEA, 4. Kelepi MATAELE, 5. Opesi TU’IFANGALOKA, 6. William SENITULI, 7. Sione TUIFANGALOKA, 8. Soakai VEA, 9. Rick TAULA, 10. Laulea TAUFA, 11. Hemaloto POLOVILI, 12. Mohammad RAJANI, 13. Amanaki LAUI, 14. Sitaleki FISI, 15. Pita HUNI, 16. Pesamino TOMASI, 17. Valeiaatu FILI, 18. Polutele TAVITE (GK)

Head Coach: Timote MOLENI (TGA)


Fiji vs Vanuatu

Saturday 28 September
Churchill Park
Suva, Fiji KO: 15:00

Click on link for the live stream: https://bit.ly/2ma8zxe

Match Officials
Referee: Matthew CONGER [NZL]
Assistant Referee 1: Mark RULE [NZL]
Assistant Referee 2: Bertrand BRIAL [NCL]
Fourth Official: Sivakorn PU-UDOM [THA]

FIJI – 1. Atunaisa NAUCUKIDI (GK) 2. Shivam NAIDU 3. Jovilisi BORISI (GK) 4. Afraz ALI 5. Ivan KUMAR 6. Zainal ALI 7. Rajniel CHAND  8. Joeli RANITU 9. Mohammed SHAH 10. Bruce HUGHES 11. Tito VODOWAQA 12. Kishan SAMI 13. Savenaca BALEDROKADROKA 14. Akeimi RALULU 15. Arami MANUMANUBAI 16. Sekove FINAU 17. Patrick JOSEPH 18.Scott WARA 19.Peni TUIGULAGULA 20.Mohammed ALAM (GK)

Head Coach: Marika RODU (FIJ)

VANUATU – 1. Daniel ALICK (GK), 2. Jesse KALOPONG, 3. Waiwo KALMET, 4. Jason THOMAS, 5. Joseph IARUEL, 6. Tasso JEFFREY, 7. Jordy TASIP, 8. Claude ARU, 9. Johnathan SPOKEYJACK, 10. Bong KALO, 11. Azariah SOROMON, 12. Lency Philip, 13. Selwyn VATU, 14. Mole MANSALE, 15. Armando RAVO, 16. Ronaldo WILKINS, 17. Bethuel OLLIE, 18. Jasson TARI, 19. James CHILIA (GK), 20. Joshua WILLIE (GK)

Head Coach: Etienne MERMER (VAN)


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