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Savusavu stays top

Luke Rawalai
Monday, November 26, 2012

FORMER Fiji rep Waisale Rasoki struck in the second spell during the second leg of the promotion/relegation series at Subrail Park in Labasa yesterday to keep Savusavu in the super premier division.

The 39-year-old striker showed he still has the touches that he was renowned for in the 90s, showcasing some scintillating skills before slotting in the lone goal past the Tailevu Naitasiri goalkeeper midway in the second half to give the northerners a 1-0 win.

Savusavu was held 1-all by the premier giants in the first match at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori and yesterday's win ensured their place in the top flight.

The match, which was delayed by half an hour following heavy downpour in Labasa, started on a slow pace with both teams taking cautious approach in the early stages of the game. Both teams made attempts at goal in the opening spell but slippery ground condition made it difficult for the players.

T/Naitasiri fought hard to level the game in the second spell but Savusavu stood tall in defence and denied the visitors the equaliser, which could have forced the series into a deciding third match.

Savusavu team coach Mahesh Charan lauded the support of former Labasa rep Rasoki and other senior players for guiding the team.

He said they would now focus on stamping their mark in the super premier grade following two years of dull performance in the top flight after getting promoted in late 2010.

"We will be resting for a short while now before we begin training again for the preparation of the upcoming season in December," Charan, who is also the association vice-president, said.

"We will just be touching up on players' ball handling skills and physical fitness level before the new season begins."

T/Naitasiri coach Tagi Vonolagi was not happy with the match officials and complained of the poor refereeing during the game.

The former national rep said the Fiji Football Association should ensure neutrality was kept at all times.

Labasa referee Shalesh Chand controlled the match and Vonolagi claimed there was a conflict of interests during the match.

Fiji FA acting president Sheik Ibrahim said the referees did an excellent job in officiating the match.

Meanwhile, Nadi defeated Ba 3-0 in penalty shooting to win the inaugural Pacific Cup title in New Zealand last night.

Both teams were locked nil-all following the extra time play.

Nadi goalkeeper Benamino Matainaqara made two crucial saves during the spot kicks to give the Jetsetters the historic win.

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