LAUTOKA ended Suva's four-match winning streak in the Fiji Sun/GP Batteries National Football League after a 2-1 victory at Churchill Park yesterday.
The win pushes the Blues to the top of the points table ahead of the Whites on goal difference.
Both teams have 12 points.
Dubbed as the battle of the cities, the fixture lived up to expectations with the fans treated to high-paced action displayed by both teams despite the wet conditions.
Suva striker Ralph Sherwin was a thorn in the Lautoka defence, showing his classy dribbling skills and was unlucky not to score from a one-on-one opportunity with Lautoka goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau in the second half.
Suva also missed a penalty which could have changed the complexion of the game.
Tamanisau proved the hero for the home team, making numerous fine saves. At the end, it was a second half deflection that decided the winner.
Suva coach Gurjeet Singh said the penalty miss was a turning point for them.
He said the loss was a wake-up call for his players.
Singh said they lacked fitness.
"I had stated earlier that we had a break which spoilt our momentum," Singh said. "Once you miss a penalty you waste a good scoring chance. For us that was the turning point.
"We had our chances but luck was not on our side. It was a balanced game. The loss is good for us. It is certainly a wake-up call ahead of the Fiji FACT. The players need to lift their fitness level."
Lautoka Football Association senior vice president Abdul Khaiyum Rafiq said the win over Suva was a morale booster ahead of the Vodafone Fiji FACT.
He said the players fought hard against a quality opposition.
"The conditions suited Suva better," Rafiq said.
"However we managed to defend well. New comers like Cyrus Singh and Edward Justin put in a lot of effort. Tamanisau had a blinder under the cross bar. We will still need to sharpen our attack. There were too many wasted opportunities."
Lautoka's Kamal Hassan missed from close range in the 10th minute with only Suva goalkeeper Emori Ragata to beat.
Suva made a break on the counter but Tamanisau made a diving effort to stop Sherwin's shot. The national goalkeeper made another fine save stopping Simione Maikali's free-kick. Lautoka found the opener in the 43rd minute through Dave Radrigai. His initial attempt was blocked by Ragata but the ball deflected back in his path and he nodded it over the Suva goalie.
As Lautoka seemed to be in celebration mood Suva struck back. Sedrick Dutt broke through the right flank and laid the ball on for Sherwin who drew Tamanisau and passed it to Nathan Shivam for a neat finish.
Both teams were locked 1-all at the break. Referee Dinesh Chand awarded Suva a penalty in the 49th minute after Semesa Nakosia fouled Sherwin in the box. Luke Ha'aterea struck the spot-kick over the cross bar.
Lautoka scored the second goal in the 60th minute after the home side was handed a free-kick out of the Suva box. Nakosia's low pile driver went through the defensive wall taking a wicked deflection off replacement Justin straight into to the back of the net. Nakosia hit the woodwork with another free-kick seven minutes later. Veteran Maika Waqa had the goalmouth at his mercy in the dying stages but blasted the ball over.
Lautoka: Simione Tamanisau, Semesa Nakosia, Malakai Waqa, Mitieli Namuka, Noa Vukica, Jone Kaloutani, Cyrus Singh, Arvindra Naidu, Dave Radrigai, Kamal Hassan, Maika Waqa.
Suva: Emori Ragata, Simione Tamanisau, Waisake Navunigasau, Leone Damudamu, Samuela Vula, Joshua Wilson, Sedrick Dutt, Nathan Shivam, Luke Ha'aterea, Ralph Sherwin, Samuela Drudru.