History in the making

Praneel Naidu, second from left, celebrate his goal with teammates Dave Radregai, second from right, and Brian Kaltack, left, during their second semi-final clash of the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League against Marist FC. Picture: OFC MEDIA

THE Vodafone Lautoka team created history by reaching the final of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Champions League for the first time after upsetting Marist FC 1-0 at the Lawson Tama stadium in Honiara, Solomon Islands yesterday.

After a 1-all draw against the visitors at Churchill Park last week, the visitors needed a positive away result to get them to the final for the first time against Team Wellington.

Praneel Naidu who was sent in the starting line-up for red carded Samuela Drudru scored in the 63rd minute following a corner kick.

Marist FC with the backing on more than 14,000 fans tried their best in the dying stages to draw level however the heroics of Blues goalkeeper Beniamino Matainaqara kept them at bay.

Lautoka coach Kamal Swamy said they made a slow start.

Swamy said it was a proud achievement for a team from Fiji to reach the final after many years.

He said national coach Christophe Gamel helped them a lot.

“We played Team Wellington in a friendly recently but lost badly,” Swamy said.

The first leg of the final will be played on the weekend of May 12-13 while the second leg will be played on the weekend of May 19-20.

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