Football World Cup 2022: the Cagous miss their entry
Confused in the construction of the game and feverish defensively, the New Caledonian selection lost their first match of group B against Fiji (1-2). A setback that already places her in a very delicate situation for the rest of the Oceania qualifiers for the World Cup.
The worst case scenario has happened. Deprived of many usual holders for his first match in the tournament, the New Zealand favorite did not finally flinch against Papua New Guinea. Hanging on for a very long time, he ended up surprising his opponent with a free kick quickly played at the entrance to the surface in the 75th minute. An action concluded by the young attacker of Wellington Phoenix, Ben Waine (75th). The possible misstep of « All Whites » did not take place, and, at the same time, the accident that the Cagous had to avoid against Fiji did indeed occur. A 2-1 defeat which will weigh like a ball and chain on the rest of the competition. Two gross errors allowed a talented 25-year-old striker, Nairusi Nalaubu, to overthrow the too friable Cagous.
Nalaubu scored the 2-1 Fijian goal just minutes from the end of the game.
The absences of Georges Gope-Fenepej – not released in time by his club Concarneau (National 3) – but also of César Zéoula and Jean-Philippe Saïko – injured – did not help. He missed the technical touch of the first two cities and the offensive efficiency of the co-top scorer of the last Pacific Games. This was felt in the game: too many badly supported passes, off-time calls, and lost balls. The Fijian pressing, exercised very high on the midfielders Pierre Bako and Cédric Décoiré, blocked the construction. Defensively, the Caledonians put themselves in danger. On a back pass, Joël Wakanumuné misses his control and sees Nalaubu steal the ball from him. A body feint later, Rocky Nyikéïne is beaten (1-0, 11th). The first period is very delicate. The 2-0 is avoided thanks to the vigilance of Emile Béaruné and two parries from Nyikéïne on a close range recovery from Nalaubu and a shot from 20 meters from Raju. On the cagou side, Jordan Wetria tries a cross shot and Morgan Mathelon, following a free kick from Cédric Décoiré, is close to equalizing on a dangerous header diverted almost on the goal line (23rd).
Morgan Mathelon very close to equalizing (23rd)
The second period will not be fundamentally better for the men of Dominique Wacalie who fail to control the Fijian captain Roy Krishna. ATK striker Mohun Bahan in the Indian Premier League is remarkable in the organization of the game of Bula Boys. Morgan Mathelon, he is not rewarded for his many efforts and stalls. The cagou attacker is only served on long aerial balloons. The movements are lacking and the many set pieces are not taken advantage of. The return of Richard Sélé will give more momentum. In the 78th minute, his cross in the back of the central defense is cut off by the diving header from Jordan Wetria. First official match in selection and first goal for the striker of SC Ne Drehu (1-1). But a few minutes from time, after a foul by Jean-Luc Décoiré on the left side, Krishna landed a free kick on the head of Nalaubu. 2-1 for Fiji, the score will not move. To hope to go to the semi-finals, New Caledonia must now win its next two matches, on March 21 against Papua New Guinea (from 0:50 a.m., live on NC La 1ère TV) and attempt the feat against a full New Zealand on March 25 (from 3:50 a.m. live on NC La 1ère TV).