Tahiti have secured third spot at the OFC U-17 Championships after a 3-0 win over hosts Fiji in Suva.
Goals from Vaitea Seguy, Titouan Guillemant and Ariiheivarau Tama earned a second third-place finish in a row in this competition after a second-half blitz at HFC Bank Stadium.
Chances were at a premium in the first 45 minutes, with both sides still licking their wounds from midweek semi-final defeats. Tahiti’s Keanan Faure and Fiji’s Peni Misipopi both missed chances to connect with headers from set plays in what proved to be an opening slog.
But it was Tahiti who eventually put the disappointment of failing to reach this evening’s final and with it this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru behind them, sweeping their opponents aside early in the second period.
Tahiti midfielder Seguy provided the moment of magic the game desperately needed to open the scoring. After Guillemant’s low-driven cross was deftly dummied by player-of-the-match Faure the French-based playmaker curled home a perfectly placed effort into Ilisoni Koro’s top right-hand corner to ignite the fixture.
With their tails up, Tahiti soon stretched their lead. Following his assist for the opener, Guillemant found himself on the scoresheet, forcing home from close range after Koro instigated a goalmouth scramble by spilling the winger’s initial effort.
The quickfire second-half double had Tahiti on course to repeat their win over Fiji in the 2018 third-place decider and just shy of 70 minutes the Tama Ura were out of sight.
The electric Guillemant was involved once again, racing beyond the Fiji defence before squaring for substitute Tama who put the result beyond doubt.
Fiji tried to narrow the margin late on, Ibraheem Afazal trying his luck with a long-range free-kick but it was to no avail as Tahiti held firm to finish third for the second time in succession.
Meanwhile, Fiji must settle for a record sixth fourth place finish in competition history.
TAHITI 3 (Vaitea SEGUY 51, Titouan GUILLEMANT 56’, Ariiheivarau TAMA 68′)