Fiji join New Zealand in last four at OFC Men’s Nations Cup after big win

Fiji have confirmed their place in the semi-finals of the OFC Men’s Nations Cup with another big win at the tournament.

After an impressive 5-1 win over Papua New Guinea on Sunday, coach Robert Sherman’s side backed that performance up with another, powering their way past a Samoa side 9-1.

Fewer than three minutes had elapsed when Rewa FC’s Setareki Hughes opened the scoring. The attacking midfielder picked up the ball on the right touchline, cutting in onto his favoured left foot and firing low, past Samoa ‘keeper Joel Bartley.

Hughes, with Thomas Dunn and Roy Krishna, were a constant threat for Fiji with their pace and directness, with Krishna testing Bartley on two occasions as the co-hosts chased a second.

Two goals within the final ten minutes of the first half put Fiji well in control, and it was no surprise that Dunn and Krishna were the architects.

Dunn doubled the lead with a well directed looping header over Bartley, following a good cross from Hughes, before Krishna was upended in the box in stoppage time, earning a penalty.

The record Fijian goalscorer duly extended his impressive record, calmly rolling the ball into the corner to make it 3-0 going into the break.

Main photo: Roy Krishna … two more goals for Fiji. Photo credit: OFC Media / Kirk Corrie Phototek.

Photo credit: OFC Media / Kirk Corrie Phototek.

To their credit, Samoa started the second period well and within two minutes of the restart had reduced arrears to two. Niko Steinmetz played a deft ball over the top of the Fiji defence, finding Luke Salisbury, who controlled well and finished into the far corner.

Frustratingly for coach Ryan Stewart, his side were unable to build upon their promising start and seven minutes after Salisbury’s strike, Thomas Dunn was tripped in the area and a second spot-kick was given.

Krishna again assumed the duties and, this time, opted for power, smashing his lower effort past Bartley to re-establish his team’s three-goal lead.

Setareki Hughes added a fifth and his second following another powerful run, out-stripping his marker and finishing with aplomb from a tight angle. Hughes then turned provider, picking up a cross from Nabil Begg and laying off to Filipe Baraviala to arrow an effort into the far corner.

Fiji’s seventh wasn’t far away, with Begg getting the goal his performance deserved, side-footing into an empty net having been set up well by substitute Ivan Kumar. There was still time for another substitute, Etonia Dogalau, to add an eighth – set up well by Player of the Match Setareki Hughes.

Dogalau was able to add a ninth as the match neared its end, flicking home from close range.

A semi-final place confirmed, Fiji still have a final group stage assignment on Saturday when they meet Tahiti, then it’s off to Port Vila in Vanuatu and a semi-final challenge against either New Zealand or Vanuatu.

Samoa will need to nurse their wounds with their final match to come, against a Papua New Guinea side who are still in with a chance of making the final four.

Papua New Guinea and Tahiti draw 1-1

Papua New Guinea and Tahiti played out a breathless draw on match day two in Group B at the OFC Men’s Nations Cup 2024 in Suva.

The result leaves both sides with a chance of advancing to the semi-finals next week in Vanuatu, with the result a welcome rebound for coach Warren Moon’s side following their defeat to co-hosts Fiji on Sunday.

Papua New Guinea had the better of the opening 45 minutes but it was Tahiti who took the lead inside a quarter of an hour.

A wonderful counter-attack from Samuel Garcia’s men saw Matéo Degrumelle running free of the defence before drawing in goalkeeper Ronald Warisan and delicately dinking the ball into the far corner.

To their credit, Papua New Guinea responded well, with powerful forward Tommy Semmy to the fore.

The equaliser took only nine minutes to arrive and it was Hekari United midfielder Ati Kepo at the heart of the attack, beating his man in the box before selflessly squaring a pass to the supporting Pala Paul to roll the ball into the unguarded net.

Photo credit: OFC Media / Kirk Corrie Phototek.

They continued to press in search of the go-ahead goal, with first Semmy and then Yagi Yasasa going close as Tahiti doggedly held on.

Whatever Moon said to his charges at half-time made a positive impact, as Papua New Guinea hit the ground running after the break. Emmanuel Simon flashed a shot inches wide of the far post when given time and space on the edge of the area.

Just past the hour mark, Tahiti squandered an excellent opportunity to take a crucial lead. Captain Teaonui Tehau was played through on goal but, under pressure, fired his shot straight at Warisan.

A break at the other end saw Semmy curl a low cross to Ati Kepo coming in late, but the midfielder’s stretch wasn’t enough to meet the ball, and Tahiti survived.

Delays meant a lengthy stoppage time, with both sides seeking what would be a crucial winning goal. Papua New Guinea enjoyed the majority of possession in the closing stages but were unable to create enough to trouble Teave Teamotuaitau in the Tahiti goal.

With little left on the clock, Tahiti lost Matatia Paama to a red card, after the defender appeared to lash out at Ati Kepo following a clash in the air.

Both teams now look to Saturday and the final match day of the group stage, when Papua New Guinea face Samoa and Tahiti take on co-hosts Fiji.


We are grateful for the help of OFC Media in providing information for this story.


Games played on Wednesday June 19, 2024

Papua New Guinea 1 (Pala Paul 24′)
Tahiti 1 (Matéo Degrumelle 15’)

Samoa 1 (Luke Salisbury 47′)
Fiji 9 (Setareki Hughes 3′, 61′, Thomas Dunn 38′, Roy Krishna 45+2′ pen, 54′ pen, Filipe Baraviala 64′, Nabil Begg 67′, Etonia Dogalau 83′, 90′)


Game to be played on Friday June 21, 2024

New Zealand v Vanuatu
VFF Fresh Water Stadium, Port Vila, 4pm (NZT)

Games to be played on Saturday June 22, 2024

Samoa v Papua New Guinea
HFC Bank Stadium, Suva, Fiji, 4pm (NZT)

Fiji v Tahiti
HFC Bank Stadium, Suva, Fiji, 7pm (NZT)

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