The Vodafone Fiji football men’s team held Tahiti 1-1 in the Tri-Nations FIFA International Friendly at Korman Stadium in Vanuatu today.
The Tahitian took an early lead in the 27th minute with a counter attack.
Striker Rusiate Matarerega had a golden opportunity to equalize in the 32nd minute but he went off target as both teams went to breather with Tahiti 1-0 lead.
Coach Christopher Gamel substituted Savenaca Baleidrokadroka with Kishan Sami just before the half time whistle.
The second half was full of drama as a Tahiti player was red carded for dangerous foul.
Matarerenga had another opportunity to level the score in the 58th minute but he again went off target.
Zibraaz Saheb was replaced by Christopher Wasasasala to add more power upfront as Fiji continued to find the equalizer.
Fiji was denied penalties in two occasions after handball was seen in the penalty which frustrated coach Gamel. Gamel argued with the match officials and was sent off from the bench.
Vodafone national women’s coach Marika Rodu stood up for Gamel.
The Bula Boys got the equalizer in the 91st minute after captain Dave Radrigai made his way into the box beating the Tahiti defense and was fouled from behind which saw Fiji awarded a penalty.
Radrigai stood up to take the spot kick and sealed the match with a 1-1 draw.
The match also saw Nasinu defender Isikeli Ratucava making his debut after he was replaced by Kavaia Rawaqa.
Fiji Team: Benaminio Mateiniqara, Kavaia Rawaqa ( Isikeli Ratucava), Savenaca Baleidrokadroka,(Kishan Sami) Manasa Rakula (Setareki Hughes) Zibraaz Saheb (Christopher Wasasasala) Nicholas Prasad, Ame Votoniu (Patrick Joseph) Samuela Drudru, Rusiate Matarerenga, Peni Tuigulagula.
Fiji will play Vanuatu national team on Monday in the second match of the series.