No mercy: Ecuador imposes record defeat to Fiji on its final match at U-20 World Cup

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.

Zambrano (yellow) comforts Samuela Navoce (white)

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.


U-20 World Cup: New Zealand prepares for titanic clash against Argentina

The Junior All Whites are set to face a crucial test in their final group match of the U-20 World Cup against hosts Argentina. After a hard-fought victory over Guatemala and a disappointing draw against Uzbekistan, New Zealand found themselves in a situation where a strong performance is necessary to secure their place in the knockout stage of the tournament.

The match against Argentina poses the biggest challenge for the Junior All Whites thus far. The Argentinian team has the advantage of playing on their home ground, fueled by the support of thousands of passionate fans. New Zealand knows that they need to be at their best to overcome such a formidable opponent.

In this crucial encounter, the defensive system led by Finn Surman, a standout defender from Wellington Phoenix, would play a vital role. Surman’s leadership and defensive prowess would be crucial in thwarting Argentina’s attacking threats. His ability to organize the backline and inspire his teammates would be instrumental in keeping the Argentinian offense at bay.

New Zealand players after the match against Uzbekistan – FIFA

New Zealand find themselves in a relatively comfortable position in the group standings. A draw in this match would guarantee their qualification as the second-placed team in the group. However, they also had an opportunity to finish first or qualify as one of the best third-placed teams, depending on the outcome of the match between Guatemala and Uzbekistan.

Coach Darren Bazeley understands the magnitude of the challenge his team faced and was keen to test his players against a strong opposition like Argentina. The match presented an opportunity for the Junior All Whites to measure their abilities and prove themselves on the global stage.

Brian Kaltak speaks about Ifira Black Bird’s historic display at OFC Champions League

In a heartfelt interview to Oceania Football Center, Brian Kaltak, the esteemed captain of the Vanuatu national team and defender for the Central Coast Mariners in the A-League, expressed his admiration for Ifira Black Bird’s remarkable display in the semifinal of the OFC Champions League against Auckland City. The match, which ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw after extra time, saw Ifira Black Bird’s valiant efforts fall short as they lost in the penalty shootout to Auckland City.

Hailing from the Erakor village, Kaltak turned into a national hero in Vanuatu. Known for his exceptional leadership skills and defensive prowess, Kaltak’s words carry significant weight within the football community. As he prepares to lead the Central Coast Mariners in the upcoming A-League Grand Final against Melbourne City on 3rd June, Kaltak took a moment to share his thoughts on the incredible match between Ifira Black Bird and Auckland City, offering inspiration and praise to his fellow countrymen.

Kaltak spoke passionately about the determination and resilience demonstrated by Ifira Black Bird throughout the match: “They played their best game, they should be all proud of themselves“, he stated. He highlighted their unwavering spirit, as they fought toe-to-toe against a formidable opponent like Auckland City, showcasing the talent and potential of Vanuatu football on a grand stage.

Recognizing the significance of the match, Kaltak commended Ifira Black Bird for their relentless pursuit of victory and their ability to hold their own against a strong Auckland City side: “The hard work and effort they gave is exceptional“, said Kaltak. He praised their skillful gameplay, teamwork, and discipline, which kept them in contention until the very end.

Ifira made history! I feel really proud of them all“, Kaltak expressed, confirming the fantastic effort put by the local side against the ten-time champions of the OFC Champions League – competition Brian Kaltak had played multiple times.

With the A-League Grand Final approaching, Kaltak is determined to make his country proud and build upon the inspiration provided by Ifira Black Bird’s heroic efforts. His Central Coast Mariners side match will be covered by national TV corporation back in Vanuatu as the decisive encounter against Melbourne City will take place at CommBank Stadium, Sydney.

Nabil Begg: “Fiji is playing at a total different level at U-20 World Cup”

The star player of the Junior Bula Boys, Nabil Begg, currently in action at the U-20 World Cup in Argentina, spoke to Oceania Football Center before their final match in the tournament. The 19-year-old stated that Fiji is playing in a very different level, against top-quality teams and it is important to understand the circumstances the squad is being exposed.

The World Cup has been of great learning and experience for all of us in the team. We are pllaying at a totally different level“, mentioned the Ba’s striker. Fiji lost their first two matches against Slovakia (4-0) and United States (3-0), showing improvement from the first match to the second. The defensive display of the Fijian side held the strong team of United States until the 66th minute, when Diego Luna’s strike had broken the deadlock.

Nabil Begg – FIFA

Now, the Fijians have another chance to learn and also to make the whole nation proud; the last pool match for the Junior Bula Boys is this Friday (in Argentina) against the South American representants Ecuador. The Ecuadorians had won Slovakia in their second match and they need a result if they want to proceed to the next stage – definitely a strong challenge as well for the Fijians. Despite the unfavourable circumstances, Begg dreams: “We hope to secure a win in this World Cup. We will try our best to beat Ecuador“, said the star player.

Two defeats recorded and another very hard match in the horizon; indeed Fiji had a very tough pool in the draw. In the other hand, the most important part, is the learning the players are getting to play at world stage. Certainly the young squad is enjoying their stay in Argentina and learning all possible to become better football players.

Azariah Soromon states fighting spirit and team bonding responsible for Suva’s O-League succesful campaign

Suva is the first non-western side of Fiji to reach the finals of the OFC Champions League -Nadi, Ba and Lautoka, the previous Fijian teams to do so are all western sides. The club from Fijian capital has enjoyed favouritisim status in their home competitions, especially after beating national champions Rewa in the national round of OFC Champions League.

Coming to the OFC Champions League in Vanuatu, Suva was only beaten by the powerhouse Auckland City by 3-0 – they recorded 6-0 win over Lupe o le Soaga and 2-0 win over Solomon Warriors. In the recent semifinal match against Tahitian champions AS Pirae, Suva needed extra time to qualify, scoring twice in the extra 30 minutes. The star of local hero Azariah Soromon shone as he scored a double in the decisive match – the former Tupuji Imere striker is the leading scorer of the continental tournament, a total of four so far.

Azariah Soromon receives man of the match award – OFC Media

The team bonding we have in the team, the fighting spirit the boys have is crucial for our sucess“, said Azariah in interview to Oceania Football Center – highlighting the teamwork of his side as a major issue for the reaching the grand final. The Vanuatu international himself is being a key factor for Suva. The Whites will have a strong challenge this Saturday (27th May) against Auckland City in the decisive encounter of the tournament at Freshwater Stadium in Port Vila.

The locals will be supporting Azariah and his compatriot and also Vanuatu international Alex Saniel and especially after the home team Ifira Black Bird defeat on penalties against the New Zealand champions earlier this week. “If we stay focused, we can beat Auckland City“, stated Soromon.

Certainly, the current champions are the favourites against the first-timer finalist from Fiji, but after the strong fight imposed by Ifira, Suva might be looking forward to make things hard for Auckland City. Their 3-1 defeat in the group stage was already a close contest, but Azariah Soromon and his teammates know they will need to play the best match of their lives if they want to upset the Navy Blues and bring to Fiji for the first time the O-League’s trophy.

Brian Kaltak on TV: Vanuatu Television Corporation will live broadcast A-League’s grand final

It’s been recently released by VBTC – Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation – that the national TV service negotiated with A-League the rights to live broadcast the grand final of Australia’s national league that will feature national team captain Brian Kaltak. The corporation confirmed that the proud Ni-Vanuatu can watch their national hero in the Central Coast Mariners’ decisive clash against Melbourne City that will be played in Sydney.

The grand final will be played on 3rd June at 8:45pm Vanuatu time. The Erakor village-born player is being one of the standout players of Mariners in their succesful A-League season, that already granted them continental football in the next season. Mariners last time they had won the grand final was back in 2013 – ten years ago – and the Gosford-based team will be hoping to celebrate this glory once again, playing against the A-League premiers Melbourne City.

Solomon Islands goes down to Vietnam in first friendly match of Asian Tour

The Kurukuru had started their Asian Tour in Vietnam with a defeat to home side; the final result was 5-0 for the Vietnamese squad. Vietnam is placed 15 spots ahead of the Solomon Islands in the FIFA Futsal rankings. Both sides are preparing for the World Cup qualifications, the Pacific Islanders will contest for a spot in the worldwide tournament still this year.

Vietnam had to battle hard to surpass Anthony Talo in the opening half as they did it in the final minutes with a fortunate goal; the ball bounced in the post and hit the back of the experienced goalkeeper and went to the nets to open the scoreline for the Southeast Asian side.

After 12 minutes of the second half, Nguyen Tran Duy scored to double the lead for the Vietnamese and three minutes later Nguyen Thinh Phat scored the third for the home team. Vietnam still had time to add another through Duong Ngoc Linh. Solomon Islands in the dying minutes subbed Talo to another outfield play to press Vietnam to try to score. In the final seconds the South Pacific team was punished as the Vietnam team scored another goal from long range after a fast recovery of the ball – with an empty net – the goalscorer was Nguyen Huu Phuc, sealing the final result by 5-0 in favour of Vietnam.

Vietnam and Solomon Islands during the match

Overall, the fans seemed satisfied with the outing of Solomon Islands. Vietnam in the 2021 World Cup was able to qualify past the group stage and gave a huge fight to Russia in the Round of 16 going down by 3-2. The squad is new, a mix of experienced players such as Ragomo and Talo, but consisting as well of players in their first outing for the Kurukuru, as Benjamin Mana and Calvin Do’oro.

Both teams will face each other one more time before the end of the Asian Tour; the Damon Shaw-coached side went down fighting in the first match and they can expect an even better performance in the second friendly.

Suva makes history as they surpass AS Pirae in extra time to reach its first ever OFC Champions League grand final

The second semifinal match of the 2023 edition of the OFC Champions League between Suva and AS Pirae proved to be an exhilarating and historic encounter. Suva, the Fijian champions, reached this stage for the first time ever, while their Tahitian counterparts, AS Pirae, were expected to reach the final, just as they did in 2006. The match showcased a thrilling display of skill, determination, and unexpected turns of events.

Suva started the match strongly, surprising everyone when defender Simione Nabenu ventured forward and received a pass from Alex Saniel. Nabenu skillfully evaded a defender and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net, giving Suva an early lead. This early goal set the tone for the match and fueled Suva’s desire to secure their place in the final. Prior to this goal, Suva had already come close to scoring through Samuela Drudru, who missed an excellent opportunity at the 5th minute.

Suva managed to defend their lead effectively and went into halftime with a 1-0 advantage. The Fijian outfit displayed resilience and determination, thwarting AS Pirae’s attempts to equalize. However, the second half started with an exciting turn of events as Marlon Tahioa provided an exceptional assist to Vanuatu international Azariah Soromon, who coolly finished to double Suva’s lead.

Despite the two-goal deficit, AS Pirae did not give up and launched a spirited comeback. Tamatoa Tetauira, a Tahitian international who came on as a substitute, unleashed a powerful shot that beat Suva’s goalkeeper, Akuila Mateisuva, after outpacing defender Inoke Turagalailai. This goal reignited AS Pirae’s hopes and intensified the pressure on Suva.

The game took a dramatic turn when Suva’s Filipe Baravilala received his second yellow card at the 59th minute, reducing Suva to ten players. AS Pirae seized this opportunity and relentlessly attacked in search of an equalizer. Their efforts paid off when Ariiura Labaste found the back of the net in the dying minutes of the game, forcing the match into extra time.

In the added time of the first period of extra time, Suva displayed their resilience and determination once again. Replacement player Bruce Hughes provided an assist to Azariah Soromon, who confidently scored his second goal of the match. Soromon’s celebration, running into the crowd, epitomized the sheer joy and elation experienced by the Suva players and their fans.

Suva players celebrate – OFC Media

Suva sealed the game in the second period of extra time when Fijian international Dave Radrigai orchestrated a fantastic play, assisting substitute Merril Nand, who calmly slotted the ball into the net. This goal extended Suva’s lead to 4-2, effectively securing their victory.

The match ended with a momentous win for Suva, propelling them to the grand final for the first time in their history. They will face the powerhouse Auckland City on Saturday, May 27th, in a highly anticipated clash. The winner of this final would earn the privilege of representing the Oceania region at the FIFA Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia later that year, marking the final seven-team event before the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 2025.

The thrilling match between Suva and AS Pirae will undoubtedly be remembered as a significant milestone in Suva’s journey, showcasing their resilience, teamwork, and determination. As they prepare to face Auckland City in the final, Suva’s players and fans are filled with anticipation and hope for a historic triumph that would etch their name in Oceania football history.

Solomon Islands: Kurukuru’s Calvin Do’oro signs professional contract with Chinese club

As spotted recently by Oceania Football Center in interview with the new Kurukuru‘s star Calvin Do’oro was close to grant a professional contract – and it did not take long to have the confirmation: Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) released a media statement confirming that the future destination of Do’oro is the Chinese Futsal Super League. “Solomon Islands Kurukuru and Dawn FC player Calvin Do’oro has signed with Chinese Futsal League side Xiangyu FC this week.  SIFF received the offer from the Chines club after the recent Melanesian Cup and assisted the player with all the paperwork including his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and communication. All transfer formalities are completed pending a Chinese visa for the player“.

Calvin Do’oro – Fiji FA Media

Currently, Do’oro and Solomon Islands national team are on a tour in Vietnam where the Kurukuru will play the home national team. “Meanwhile, Do’oro is currently away with the national futsal team on national duty in Vietnam and is awaiting his visa to confirm the next phase of his move to China“, confirmed SIFF.

This is a breakthrough in sports for Solomon Islands and China to see a Solomon Islander playing in China and a positive outcome for the bilateral relationship between the two countries. It will also benefit the player’s family and contribute to the country’s economy through remittance as the player will be paid on a professional contract“, also stated SIFF on the move for Do’oro.

It is known the player caught the eye of the Chinese outfit during the Melanesian Cup, where Do’oro ended up as golden boot and MVP of the competition. Certainly the scouting, visa process and documentation will be easier in this particular case due the strong relationship Solomon Islands has with China’s government.

O-League: Auckland City wins on penalty shootout to seal first grand final spot after famous match against Ifira Black Bird

The first semifinal of the 2023 OFC Champions League at Freshwater Stadium in Port Vila was a memorable clash between Ifira Black Bird and Auckland City. The hosts, Ifira Black Bird, put on a strong performance against the defending champions, Auckland City, despite falling short in the penalty shootout after a thrilling 2-2 draw in normal time and extra time.

Ifira Black Bird started the match with great momentum, buoyed by the support of their passionate home crowd. The Vanuatu champions created several scoring opportunities through their talented front trio, consisting of Godine Tenene, Jonathan Spokeyjack, and Jordy Tasip. Auckland City had to battle in the first half, and just before the break, Ifira took the lead when Kerry Iawak finished a magnificent volley after an assist from Spokeyjack. The crowd erupted with joy, celebrating their team’s success.

In the second half, Ifira continued their impressive display. A well-delivered cross from Jean-Pierre Taussi found Godine Tenene inside the penalty box, who headed the ball home to extend Ifira’s lead to 2-0. However, the introduction of the veteran striker Ryan de Vries proved to be a turning point for Auckland City. De Vries quickly made an impact, scoring with a header from a free kick to bring his team back into the game.

Minutes later, Ifira’s goalkeeper, Andreas Duch, made a crucial save to deny Dylan Manickum from close range, keeping his team’s lead intact. However, the match took a dramatic twist when Timothy Boulet, defender for Ifira Black Bird, received his second yellow card and was sent off, leaving Ifira with ten men on the field. Despite Duch’s heroic efforts, Ryan de Vries capitalized on a mistake in the dying minutes, as the ball slipped from the goalkeeper’s hands, allowing de Vries to equalize and send the match into extra time.

Auckland City players celebrate – OFC Media

In the additional 30 minutes, Auckland City took control and created numerous scoring chances. They came close to scoring when Chinese midfielder Tong Zhou hit the post, and in the final moments of the game, Samuel Kaloros cleared the ball off the line to save Ifira from conceding. With neither team able to find a winner, the match proceeded to a penalty shootout.

The penalty shootout was a nerve-wracking affair, with all nine initial penalties being successfully converted. Unfortunately for Ifira Black Bird, defender Thomas Napaukarana saw his penalty saved by Auckland City goalkeeper Conor Tracey, securing another final appearance for the New Zealand powerhouse.

Despite falling short in the end, Ifira Black Bird’s strong performance and the electric atmosphere in the crowded stadium will be celebrated as a remarkable moment in the history of Oceania football. Auckland City will now regroup and prepare to defend their title in the upcoming final in Port Vila, aiming to continue their dominance in the OFC Champions League.