Fiji's Saula Waqa (#15) scores against Honduras during their FIFA U-20 World Cup match on June 4, 2015, in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand – A representative from Fiji (1-0-1, 3 points) won for the first-ever time in a FIFA competition, scoring three times in the first half for a 3-0 triumph over Honduras (1-0-1, 3 points) in the FIFA U-20 World Cup on Thursday at AMI Stadium.
The loss was a setback to Honduran hopes of progressing in the competition, especially since its last Group F game will be played Sunday against first-place Germany (2-0-0, 6 points), which beat Uzbekistan (0-0-2, 0 points) later in the day. 3-0.
Fiji had suffered an 8-1 loss to the Germans in their opener, but bounced back in resilient fashion, taking a 1-0 lead against the Central Americans in the 14th minute. Along the left side of the goal line, Setareki Hughes outmuscled Marcelo Pereira for possession of the ball. The 19-year-old alertly lifted his head to find Iosefo Verevou, who fired a left-footed shot from eight-yards out off goalkeeper Cristian Hernandez and into the net.
Five minutes later, Fiji extended its lead. Verevou’s free kick from inside the box – after Hernandez was judged to have handled a backpass -- crashed off the crossbar and sailed towards teammate Saula Waqa. The forward tried to connect with the rebound from seven yards, but missed. He then mis-hit the follow-up attempt only to see it loop over the line despite a desperate lunge by Carlos Moncada.
The Fijians put the game out of reach in the 45th minute thanks to a Honduras own-goal. Verevou delivered an in-swinging corner kick from the right, which Atonio Tuivuna headed off the head of an unwitting Kevin Alvarez and past the helpless Hernandez.
Honduras created numerous chances after the break, but too often shot directly at goalkeeper Misiwani Nairube.