Sisilia Kuladina scored a brace in Fiji’s 4-0 victory over the Cook Islands in their final Group B match of the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship 2023 at Stade Pater in Papeete, earning them a spot in the semi-finals.
The national team is set to face Tahiti in the first semi-final tomorrow.
Fiji enjoyed territorial advantage throughout the match and managed to score all of their goals in the first half. While they maintained control in the second half, their attacking play wasn’t as sharp as in the first. However, their defense remained solid against the Cook Islands.
Approximately 15 minutes into the game, the Cook Islands’ defense failed to clear a long ball into the box, allowing Kuladina to capitalise with a precise shot into the top corner, breaking the deadlock for Fiji. Cook Islands goalkeeper Rosalain Sarahphina made a smart save to deny Fiji captain Kasanita Tabua from close range, but Tabua eventually found the net a few minutes later, converting a rebound from just a couple of yards out after Sarahphina failed to parry Elesi Tabunase’s cross. Fiji continued to press, adding two more goals in a span of four minutes, with Tabunase scoring in the 37th minute and Kuladina netting her second goal in the 41st minute.
This victory marked Fiji’s second win, following an 11-3 triumph over Vanuatu in their opening game. Their only loss in the tournament came against New Zealand, where they were defeated 1-4.
In the other semi-finals, New Zealand will face Tonga. The competition is scheduled to conclude next Tuesday with the grand finale.
Photo Credit: OFC Media via Christophe Fotozz