Fiji 1:0 India
Goals: 1-0 Esala Masi (14', pen)
time: 19.00 local time (12.30 IST / 09.00 CET)
Churchill Park, Lautoka
Simione Tamanisau; Lorima Dau, Alvin Avinesh, Luke Vidovi, Apisalome
Turuva, Avinesh Swamy; Esala Masi, Josaia Bukalidi (??' Taniela
Waqa), Salesh Kumar (88' Petero Daunisaka); Kiniviliame Naika, Thomas
Vulivuli (77' Osea Vakatalesau)
VP Satish Kumar; Irungbam Surkumar Singh, Selwyn Fernandes, Naduparambil
Pappachan Pradeep, Manju Nanjangud Shivananju; Shylo Malswam Tulunga,
Sukhjinder Singh (75' Sukhwinder Singh), Shanmugam Venkatesh, Debabrata
Roy (??' Subhas Chakraborty); Vimal Pariyar, Manjit Singh (64' Sunil
Neil Fox (New Zealand)
Yellow Card: Selwyn Fernandes (14' India), Vimal Pariyar (??' India),
Manju Nanjangud Shivananju (56' India)
seals win | Fiji Sun
National soccer captain Esala Masi nailed home a lone goal to keep
India scoreless on Fiji soil last night. The Malaysia-based player
slotted in the winner in the 14th minute of the first half after
young Avinesh Swamy was fouled in the penalty box by Selwyn Fernandes.
However the experienced campaigner could not double the scores when
the Pepsi Fiji side was awarded another penalty in the second half
by New Zealand referee Neil Fox in front of packed Churchill Park
crowd in Lautoka.
Indian goalkeeper Satish Kumar inspired his side with a superb save
in the 10th minute of the second spell, which denied the national
side an important goal. The Shanmugam Venkatesh led side looked
elusive in attack but the side failed to score goals when it mattered
against a more physical national side. Masi was relieved to have
won the match in the end and thanked his players for a gallant performance.
He said he was not impressed with the ground conditions, adding
that the win had given them much-needed confidence ahead of the
next match. “At the end of the day we got the result and that
is what matters,” Masi said. “Everyone fought hard even
though it wasn't a pretty game. It’s one of those days. It
happens in the game. Big players miss penalties but I am thankful
to the rest of the players who helped out in the back.” Indian
coach Sukvindra Singh said the national side played a more physical
game. He was also disappointed with the ground conditions. He said
the side tried hard to score but would have to work hard in the
final match of the series at the National Stadium tomorrow.
watch Fiji beat India | Fiji Times
National captain Esala Masi scored from a penalty to guide Fiji
to a historic 1-0 win over India in the first friendly encounter
at Churchill Park last night.
Masi slotted in the spot kick on 14minutes after an Indian defender
tripped debutant Avinesh Swamy in the penalty area.
The Fiji side displayed physical soccer and dominated aerial possession,
which rattled the opposition in front of the 10,000 crowd. The tourists
lacked height in defence and attack.
Fiji coach Lee Sterrey was happy with his first win. Sterrey said
the players settled well in the first 20 minutes, which laid the
platform for the encounter.
"The pitch wasn't perfect for soccer so we played accordingly,"
said the national coach.
Fiji started the match on a positive note putting India under pressure.
India goalkeeper Satish Kumar was forced to make an early save from
a corner kick. A defence error allowed Swamy to run on to a free
ball in the India box. The Ba player was struck from behind.
Masi made no mistakes from the spot kick sending Palanivalu the
Sweeper Lorima Dau was forced to clear the ball off the line through
a header in the 44th minute after India pressured to equalise.
was awarded a second penalty in the 50th minute after Irungbam Surkumar
Singh handled a corner kick. Masi's attempt was saved by Kumar.
India coach Sukhvinder Singh said the ground surface didn't help
their style of soccer. "My boys tried hard. We missed a sitter
one metre away from the goalmouth," said Singh.
Masi said the win had boosted the morale of his team. "I'm
thankful to the players for their efforts. We held the fort and
came out winners. The win means a lot to us, it gives us more confidence
before the next match," Masi said.