Fiji and Papua New Guinea met at Grand Hamad Stadium to duel for a place in the semifinals of the World Cup Qualifiers. The Kapuls needed only a draw, while the Bula Boys needed to win to advance.
In the eighth minute a good play by Roy Krishna and Ashnil Raju left Sairusi Nalaubu in front of goal, but his shot was saved by Papua New Guinean goalkeepeer Ronald Warisan. Four minutes later, Tevita Waranaivalu opened the scoreboard for Bula Boys after a nice cross by Setareki Hughes – at this point, Fiji was qualifying for the semifinals.
Despite the advantage, things got bad for Fiji. Waranaivalu was sent off in the last minutes of the first half for assaulting Jacob Sabua. A few moments later, Ati Kepo easily passed through the Fijian defense to equalize.
In the 63rd minute, a sensational pass from Jacob Sabua found Tommy Semmy inside the box. He finished brilliantly to put Papua New Guinea ahead on the scoreboard. The team coached by Marcos Gusmão still managed to create more opportunities in the final minutes, but the score remained 2-1 – which qualified the Kapuls for the semifinals. You can watch the goals of this contest by clicking here.
Papua New Guinea will face Solomon Islands in the semifinals on Sunday, while Fiji is knocked out in the group stage for the third consecutive time in the OFC senior men’s tournaments.