2018 Vodafone Fiji FACT: Nadi makes semis

Suva's Remueru Tekiate shields the ball from Nadi's Napolioni Qasevakatini during the Vodafone Fiji FACT at Ratu Cakobau Park last week. Picture: JONA KONATACI

HAT-TRICK hero Rusiate Matarerega of Nadi punished his former team Suva, booting them out of the 2018 Vodafone Fiji FACT at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori yesterday. Matarerega proved to be the deadliest of the finishers in the tournament after becoming the first player to score three goals in a match. Nadi went into the game with the aim of winning by two clear goals and they managed to score their first in the 49th minute when Matarerega beat Suva goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau. Suva’s Ravinesh Karan Singh equalised in the 57th minute when he sneaked in the goal against Nadi goalkeeper Vereti Dickson after Nadi defenders could not clear the ball. The 25-year-old Matarerega took Nadi into the lead with a beautiful goal from a cross against Tamanisau while Suva kept ball watching. Tevita Waranaivalu rolled the ball into the net after sliding in front of Dickson to level scores 2-all. It was the brilliance of Matarerega who broke the hearts of Suva fans in the 84th minute as Suva defenders lost their focus. “I thank the Almighty for guiding me in the match and to score goals for my Nadi team. He said in his word that if man can’t do it then through God everything is possible. We told each other to love each other and play for each other and that is what Nadi has been known for,” the former Suva and Lautoka striker said. “We proved the critics wrong as most of them ruled us out of the semi-final. Maybe it is fate that whenever I play against Suva I am able to score goals, but it is through God.” Matarerega, who is originally from Bavu Village in Nadroga, said Nadi was the district where he loved playing his football. “The win was for all the fans in Nadi,” he said. “I always say that there is no other feeling like when I play with Nadi even though if I am left with very little space to breathe, I am able to give extra power for Nadi. It is a special feeling donning the green jumper for Nadi.”