The U-20 World Cup match between Fiji and Ecuador in Argentina turned out to be a heavy defeat for the Fijian side. The final scoreline of 9-0 in favor of Ecuador not only marked the highest ever scoreline achieved by Ecuador in the tournament but also represented the heaviest defeat Fiji has ever experienced in the competition. The result highlighted the glaring difference in quality between the two teams and exposed the overall poor performance of the Fijian side.
The match took place at the stadium in Santiago del Estero, and it witnessed a one-sided affair throughout the 90 minutes. Ecuador completely dominated the game, leaving Fiji with no chance to assert themselves. The 16-year-old Kendry Paez made history by becoming the youngest goalscorer ever in the U-20 World Cup when he opened the scoring at the 7th minute.
Ecuador took some time to score again in the second half, but once they found their rhythm, they quickly added to their tally. José Klinger capitalized on a terrible pass from Sterlling Vasconcellos in the Fijian defense to score at the 34th minute. Just two minutes later, the Ecuadorian team captain, Justin Cuero, contributed another goal. Cuero struck once more before the end of the first half, further extending Ecuador’s lead.
In the second half, the Ecuadorians continued their complete control of the match. Alan Minda found the back of the net at the 66th minute, making it the fifth goal for his team. As the game reached its dying minutes, the Fijian players appeared exhausted and offered little resistance. Ecuador took advantage of the situation and added more goals to their already impressive scoreline. Alan Minda scored his second of the game at the 85th minute, followed by Tommy Chamba’s goal four minutes later. In the stoppage time, Christopher Zambrano scored two easy goals, further compounding Fiji’s misery.
Had Ecuador converted all their chances, the scoreline could have resembled a rugby match rather than a football game. The Fijian head coach, Bobby Mimms, made a tactical decision to start Labasa’s goalkeeper Joji Vuakaca instead of the usual Aydin Mustahib. However, Vuakaca was later substituted by Nadroga’s Isikeli Sevanaia, who managed to make some important saves. Unfortunately for Fiji, Mimms’ changes did not yield positive results, as Ecuador maintained total control and inflicted a heavy defeat on the Junior Bula Boys.
Ecuador displayed their dominance by taking an astounding 40 shots, with 21 of them hitting the target. With this resounding victory, Ecuador secured their qualification for the knockout stage of the tournament. On the other hand, Fiji bowed out of the competition with a goal difference of -16, failing to score a single goal while conceding 16 throughout their three matches.
Despite the disappointing outcome, Fiji can take solace in their learning spirit and the fact that they faced tough opposition in their group although it is clear that the Fijian team had the potential to perform better in this match, as evidenced by their previous match against the United States.