Brawl mars international U-20 tournament as Fijian player sent home in disgrace

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The Indonesian tournament in which New Zealand’s U-20 men’s team are playing has been marred by an on-field fight and the sending home of a Fijian player.

Four players were red-carded in the match between Fiji and hosts Indonesia, who New Zealand meet tonight (Sunday, 12.30am NZT) in their second game of the PSSI Invitational tournament.

Pawan Pratap Singh was the third Fijian player sent off during Friday’s match, won 4-0 by Indonesia. He was sent off for punching opponents as a melee broke out in the game’s final minutes.

An Indonesian player was also sent off for retaliating when struck by Pawan.

Main photo: What Indonesian television viewers saw as a brawl breaks out between players with two minutes of the game left.

Pawan is shown the red card.

Since then, the Fiji Football Association has apologised to the Indonesia team management and has recalled Pawan, insisting he catch the first available flight home. He will face further sanctions from the FFA.

“The team management has been directed to work on the discipline of the team, both on and off the field in preparation for the next match and onwards,” FFA president Rajesh Patel said in a statement.

“Fiji FA does not condone such behaviour from our national players in the team. We will come down hard on players bringing disrepute to football and the country.”

Fiji coach U-20 Rudolfo Zapata took issue with referee Thoriq Alkatiri after the match, saying:

“I am not happy with this result, we will analyze this match. In fact, in the first half, we played well and the tactical aspects of our team were met.

“We were able to put high pressure on the Indonesian players, but unfortunately, the referee issued too many yellow cards, but I am happy with the performance of the players in the first half. In the second half, our game was destroyed, and we have to analyze this second half again.

“There were some positive things from my players when we played 11 against 11, everything went well and we were able to match Indonesia. But after the red card, it was all over.”

Bazeley’s squad options ahead of fixture

Meanwhile, New Zealand should have a full squad from which coach Darren Bazeley can select his side to face Indonesia.

Nine of his side had trouble flying out of Wellington, leaving Bazeley with only 14 available players for the tournament opener against Guatemala, which the Kiwis lost 3-1.

READ MORE: New Zealand U-20 men’s team lose 3-1 to Guatemala at international tournament >>>>

Nine members of national U-20 squad miss tournament opener due to travel issues >>>>

The tournament was organised to enable the four teams to prepare for the FIFA U-20 World Cup which will be held in Indonesia from May 20 to June 11.

READ MORE: Past winners England, Brazil and France to join New Zealand at U-20 Men’s World Cup >>>>

New Zealand squad

Aaryan Raj (Eastern Suburbs), Adam Supyk (Eastern Suburbs), Alby Kelly-Heald (Wellington Phoenix), Charlie Beale (Wellington Phoenix), Dan McKay (Wellington Phoenix), Everton O’Leary (Birkenhead United), Fin Conchie (Wellington Phoenix), Henry Gray (Waterside Karori), Isaac Hughes (Wellington Phoenix), Jackson Jarvie (Eastern Suburbs), Jay Herdman (Vancouver Whitecaps, Canada), Josh Galletly (Eastern Suburbs), Kian Donkers (NEC Nijmegen, Netherlands), Lukas Kelly-Heald (Wellington Phoenix), Marco Lorenz (Wellington Phoenix), Matt Foord (Cashmere Technical), Oliver Colloty (Melville United), Oliver Middleton (Auckland United), Oscar Obel Hall (Esbjerg FC, Denmark), Roman Engle (Gold Coast Knights, Australia), Theo Ettema (Wellington Olympic), Ty Cobb (Brisbane Roar, Australia), William Pierce (Christchurch United).


Game to be played on Monday February 20, 2023

Indonesia U-20 v New Zealand U-20
Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta, 12.30am (NZT)

Game to be played on Tuesday February 21, 2023

Fiji U-20 v New Zealand U-20
Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta, 10.30pm (NZT)

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