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History-making continues for Rio-bound Fiji

The final was played under lights at Sir Hubert Murray Stadium in Port Moresby and went all the way to penalties after 120 goalless minutes with Jale Dreloa, captain of Fiji during the recent FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign, converting the crucial final spot kick.#Fiji coach Carlos Buzzetti was ecstatic to have overseen another historic performance from Fiji.#“What an incredible game, a truly final game. They deserved as we deserved to win it,” Buzzetti says.#“It was an amazing 90 minutes of football, followed by 30 minutes of extra time and then down to penalties and it was miss, score, miss. But for me this is something special.#“It’s the second historic moment for Fiji and historic because Fiji has never qualified for the Olympics before, but also no Pacific Island nation has qualified before. This was an amazing opportunity for both sides.”#It was all systems go from the outset with both sides putting early pressure on their opponent in an effort to get ahead. The play flew from end to end, with Vanuatu looking much more likely to score.#While Vanuatu looked like they were getting the majority of chances, it was still a match that either side could have taken at any point with Fiji just as unfortunate in front of goal as their opponent.#Adding to the difficulties up front was Fiji keeper Tevita Koroi and Vanuatu glove man Selonie Iaruel having the performances of their lives with some impressive saves at either end of the field.#With the sides inseparable after normal time, and extra time, it came down to a penalty shoot-out to help identify a winner. Vanuatu captain Brian Kaltack was first up and wasted no time firing in the first penalty for his side. As it stood, only Brian and his cousins Jean and Tony were able to convert from the spot while it was a similar story from the Fiji side.#Goals to Tony Tuivuana, Kolinio Sivoki and Iosefo Verevou counted towards Fiji’s tally and after the Remy Kalsarap missed the first sudden-death kick, the pressure went on Dreloa’s shoulders. The captain handled the pressure with aplomb and fired Fiji to their first Men’s Olympic Football Tournament.

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