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Vodafone Fiji U-17 loses to New Zealand

#The final encounter was the highly anticipated match-up between Fiji and defending champions New Zealand. With Fiji heading to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup all eye are on the nation and despite some rare flashes of brilliance the side struggled to deliver.#Inside the first 20 minutes the Kiwis had already gone 2-0 up courtesy of goals from James McGarry and Logan Rogerson. McGarry’s third in the 33rd minute was an impressive display of athleticism dove head first into a cross from Sarpeet Singh sending it past the keeper Waisake Ravuiwasa.#The second half saw more of the same as Rogerson added his second with a low drive into the bottom corner. The 60th minute marked the turning point as the young Fijians lost their cool picking up consecutive cautions before a foolish decision to palm the ball off the goal line by Afraz Ali saw no hesitation from Tahitian referee Kader Zitouni as he brandished the red card.#Benjamin Mata stepped up to convert from the spot, with a second penalty awarded in the dying stages converted by Probert after Rogerson was taken down inside the area. The opportunity to make it seven fell to Rogerson in the final minute of additional time, but a slip as he kicked saw it fly up the face and over the goal.#It was a tough night in the office for Kamal Swamy as he watched New Zealand take his side apart, but the co-coach of Fjii remains optimistic.#“I think the first few goals were just poor defending and once we got numbers in the box they were not able to score. If the players were good I think we would have got at least a better result. Obviously New Zealand is a strong team but so do we.#“We’ll go back to the drawing board and try and rectify those mistakes and then come up against our next opponent.”#It was a much easier evening for Jose Figuiera as his side romped home and he’s pleased to get a good win under the belt.#“We’re very happy, it’s always good to get off on the right foot in the opening game and I just said to the boys they can enjoy that victory. A great start.#“I thought the most pleasing thing was the way we dominated the game, aside from the set pieces we looked to control it and be aggressive and look to attack what we could and I thought we did all of that well today.”#Match Day 3 takes place on Thursday 15 January with Papua New Guinea opening proceedings against Fiji at 2pm. Defending champions New Zealand take on hosts Samoa at 4.30pm before the 7pm encounter between New Caledonia and Cook Islands closes the day’s events.#OFC#

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