THE Vodafone Fiji under-20 side needs to be wary of the hurt New Caledonians when the two teams clash tonight in the Oceania Football Confederation U20 Championship at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.
Tournament favourites New Caledonia went down to Vanuatu 1-0 while Fiji managed to beat American Samoa 4-0 in the opening day of the championship on Friday.
After the unexpected loss, New Caledonia coach Kamali Fitialeata said they would come back stronger in their next match against Fiji.
He said the team needed maximum points to remain in contention of a place in the FIFA U20 World Cup.
"Our team was on the mark, except yesterday (Friday) we learned of the passing of the grandfather of one of our players which could have affected the mentality of the players. But we're not looking for excuses — we fell to a strong Vanuatu side," Fitialeata told OFC.
Fiji coach Ravinesh Kumar told Times Sport the team would put together a better performance in their upcoming matches.
The Jale Dreloa-skippered side seemed unsettled against American Samoa and failed to score in the second spell despite having a number of opportunities.
Fiji leads the points table on three points and has a better goal advantage over Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, which are placed second and third, respectively.
Meanwhile Vanuatu assistant coach Anthony Pisano said the win over New Caledonia had set a strong platform in the team's campaign in the championship.
"We knew New Caledonia was going to come out hard in the first 25 minutes so our plan was to consolidate, and make sure we didn't concede — and that's what happened," Pisano said.
"It is an important win that instills a bit of confidence in the boys heading into the second match. It was an important victory for us and the crowd support from the university students helped get the boys over the line."
Fixtures (today) - 2.30pm Solomon Islands-Vanuatu, 5pm PNG-American Samoa, 7.30pm Fiji-New Caledonia