(Photo Credit OFC Media via Phototek)

Coach Maxwell Thaggard is defending his Suva FC side’s physical approach to their final Group A game in the OFC Champions League.

The Fijian side advanced to the semi-finals in Port Vila with a 2-0 win over the Solomon Warriors at Luganville’s Soccer City Stadium. There were seven yellow cards dished out in the first half, four to Suva players but Thaggard insists his players played hard but fair.

“It was a great achievement and we stuck to our game plan. Today we exposed areas we wanted to expose and stuck to our plan,” Thaggard said after the match.

“In the Pacific, if you know about Fijian football, we are very physical. Our boys like to play hard, because of our rugby and they bring it to the football pitch.”

Thaggard wasn’t tempted to make any changes at half-time despite three of his starting back four being on yellow.

“That’s football, you must take your risks and I don’t like changing my backline. I had to take Simmy (Simione Nabenu) out because he’s still getting used to the heat, he’s like a Kiwi boy now.” Thaggard said.

Nabenu had just joined the team from New Zealand two days before the match.

The coach reserved special praise for the Vanuatu combination of player of the match Alex Saniel and his fellow attacker Azariah Soromon.

“They have been in our system; they have so much penetration and they are the key for the whole team itself.” Thaggard said.

Thaggard also revealed a little personal secret as he now plots an assault on the semi-finals in Port Vila on Wednesday.

“I packed my bags and packed 15 pairs of underwear and my wife said why did you pack 15 pairs of underwear, and I said I want to go to the final and I don’t want to wash it.”

Warriors coach Franco Ne’e felt Suva were overly physical but that’s what he expected.

“There were some fouls and aggressive play and I hope my boys will learn from this one and come back in the future,” Ne’e said.