In their first match of the invitational tournament in Jakarta, the Fiji U-20 side suffered a heavy defeat against Indonesia U-20. Despite managing to keep the scoreline at 1-0 in the first half, thanks to a goal scored by Arkham at the 35th minute, Fiji was totally dominated by the local team. In the second half, Indonesia added three more goals to seal a 4-0 victory – Kakang at the 50th, Resa at the 60th and Hokky at the 86th minute of play.
Fiji, coached by Argentinian Rodolfo Zapata, struggled to create any clear-cut chances and Nabil Begg of Ba was the only player who managed to pose some threat to the Indonesian side with a few shots on goal. However, none of his attempts really troubled the local team.
To make matters worse, Fiji had three players sent off during the match. Melvin Mani received two yellow cards for two reckless challenges, Thomas Dunn was also sent off, and Pawan Singh was shown a red card at the 88th minute after an aggression against an Indonesian player. Singh hit the opposing player with a punch to the neck, which led to a lot of confusion in the game. An Indonesian player was also sent off after the altercation.
The loss against Indonesia highlights the challenges facing Fiji as they prepare for the U-20 World Cup in Indonesia – watch the highlights of the match by clicking here. Fiji will now have to regroup quickly as they have two more matches to play in Indonesia against the U-20 sides of Guatemala and New Zealand, both of whom have qualified for the U-20 World Cup, which will also be held in Indonesia. The Fijian side will need to improve their performance and discipline if they hope to compete against these strong opponents.
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