Vanuatu has unfortunately withdrawn from the OFC World Cup qualifiers because of an outbreak of Covid-19 in its delegation. Fiji was eliminated by Papua New Guinea early in the group stage after a 2-1 defeat. Both national teams took advantage of the rare opportunity to play a friendly match – which will count towards the FIFA rankings. The match took place this Monday – 28th March – in Doha, as both sides were still in the Middle East nation.
For Vanuatu it was the opportunity to play an official match since the Pacific Games and also to check the debut of a number of players, including the Australian-based defender Jared Clark. The Melanesians took an early lead through Andre Batick – who scored his first goal for the national team.
The Fijian superstar Roy Krishna scored twice before the break to give the Bula Boys the win. Krishna is now the all-time leading scorer for the Fiji national team, tied with Esala Masi – both with 31 goals.
It is not known if the teams will play anyother friendly matches in Qatar. The next scheduled tournament for both Vanuatu and Fiji is the Pacific Games to be held next year in Honiara, Solomon Islands.