Fiji and Tahiti progress to the OFC Men’s Nations Cup semifinals

Kyah Cahill and Alwin Komolong tussle hard for possession. (PHOTO: Supplied)

After three rounds of intense competition in the pool stages of the OFC men’s nations cup in Suva, Tahiti and Fiji have progressed to the semi-finals. 

Saturday saw the third and last round of Group B pool games where as anticipated, the scoreline between the teams was very close.

Samoa played against Papua New Guinea and looked very dangerous in the first 20 minutes. There were a couple of really close misses, just inches away from the goalmouth.

Kyah Cahill, Luke Tolo-Kent and Pharrell Trainor coordinated well in the middle each time they had possession.

However, a quick turnover saw PNG’s star player Tommy Semmy take possession from a beautiful long cross by Emmanuel Simon. Semmy did not waste the opportunity to hammer that ball in. 

PNG led 1 – 0 at the break.

PNG scored their second goal just a minute into the second half. Ati Kepo was the beneficiary of another spectacular long drive along the embankment sidelines. Kepo still had some work to do but he was too good for Samoa’s goalie Paul Taupau.

Samoa’s Pharrell Trainor, who had been consistent in attack on afternoon,  managed to score one well-deserved goal in the 66th minute of the game. 

At the final whistle PNG won 2 -1.

Tommy Semmy said while they stuck to their game plan, they couldn’t capitalise on all the chances they had. “But overall I think I’m happy with our boys. They gave it their all. We had a bad first game against Fiji, then a good tough game against Tahiti and a win in our last outing here against Samoa”.


The second match saw Fiji take on Tahiti. The teams last played each other in the Pacific Games last year where it was a 0-0 draw. 

Fiji’s Roy Krishna, Thomas Dunn and Nabil Begg led Fiji’s attack up front while Sairusi Nalaubu and Filipe Baravilala delivered clean balls up the middle.

Tahiti’s Mateo Degrumelle, Manuarii Shan and Teaonui Tehau were the firepower for their side while Eddy Kaspard, Pothin Poma and Teva Tossec played hard during defense.

A surprise change of tactics by Fiji had Krishna and Dunn setting up Sairusi Nalaubu, who rushed up front for a perfect opportunity to score. But Nalaubu was stopped by a dangerous tackle by Tahiti goalie, Teave Teamotuaitau.

A penalty kick was awarded to Fiji, which was an easy goal for captain Roy Krishna in the 25th minute. 

This was the only goal for the entire game, despite Fiji having most of the possession in the second half.

Fiji goalkeeper Isikeli Sevanaia put on a brilliant show in front of his home crowd. The Tahitian firepower combination just could not get past him. 

Final score Fiji 1 – 0 Tahiti. 

Fiji coach Robert Sherman said they made things difficult for themselves initially but dominated in the second half.  “We’ve been happy with how we’ve been progressing. We’ll take this game as a lesson and the boys have been learning from these lessons, which is really encouraging. We’ll be going into the semifinal in a reasonably good mood”.  

The semi-finals will be played June 27 at the Fresh Water Stadium in Port Vila, Vanuatu. 

Fiji will play Vanuatu while Tahiti will meet New Zealand.