Les Cagous see off Fiji to finish second
New Caledonia beat Fiji to finish second in OFC Group A
Emile Ounei and Richard Sele give Les Cagous the three points
Final 2018 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier for both sides
New Caledonia defeated Fiji 2-1 in the pair's final 2018 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying match, with the victory sealing second spot in Group A behind New Zealand for Les Cagous. Goals from Emile Ounei (a penalty) and Richard Sele sandwiched Epeli Saukuru's second half effort to seal the win.
As with Wednesday’s match-up in Lautoka, which saw the Fijians peg back their opponents to earn their first point of this round, the game was a dead rubber due to New Zealand having sealed progression to the play-off back in March. However, it was a closely fought and entertaining match in Noumea.
The hosts took the lead just before half-time, with Ounei converting a spot kick after Kavaia Rawaqa had handled in the penalty area.
The experimental and youthful Fijian side named by coach Christophe Gamel then levelled matters after the hour mark, when Saukuru turned in a cross to equalise.
Parity did not last long though, with Sele following up a shot on goal to put the hosts back in front less than ten minutes later.
Despite late pressure from Fiji, they could not find another way past Mickael Ulile in the New Caledonia goal, with the 'keeper pulling off an impressive double save to deny Roy Krishna in stoppage time.
The result means New Caledonia finish in second behind New Zealand, with the Kiwis set to face the winner of Group B in the Oceanian play-off. That pool's final game will be played on Tuesday between Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands in Port Moresby.