NIGERIAN Ali Chigozie Anthoney scored a double on debut to guide Lautoka to a 6-0 win over Tavua in the Fiji Sun/GP Batteries National Football League at Churchill Park yesterday.
Anthoney, who previously played in Bangladesh, proved to be a thorn for the Tavua defence. He displayed some good touches but could have scored more goals. Tavua goalkeeper Maika Nasema had an outstanding game and saved Anthoney's strike on three occasions.
Tavua barely threatened the Lautoka defence.
Jone Vonu Jr made his debut for the Blues in the match this season but looked a bit bulky.
Lautoka missed some key players. Sweeper Isikeli Jeke was on suspension after picking up consecutive yellow cards. Valerio Nawatu remained on leave while there was no sign of Peni Finau, Alvin Avinesh and Arvindra Naidu.
Lautoka Football Association president Shalendra Prasad said the big win had put them on the right track for the Super Eight.
He said the players were paid incentives for the win.
"The boys missed some clear opportunities. In saying that the Tavua goalkeeper was superb. This win is crucial as we only have one more match remaining in the first round. The LFA executives would like to thank the fans and sponsors for supporting the team."
Tavua soccer manager Hirday Ram said a few of their senior players sustained injuries earlier in the week.
"We faced problems in the past few days after a couple of our players got injured participating in a warm up Sanatan match," Ram said.
"So we lacked experience missing Ravinesh Chand and Ravinesh Singh.
The team will have to regroup for the next match against Nadroga. If we have the regulars than I don't see any reason why we cannot beat Nadroga."
Dave Radrigai scored the opener in the eighth minute. Nigerian Asombe Hendry Uche doubled Lautoka's advantage in the 39th minute from the penalty spot.
Jone Kaloutani made it 3-0 moments before the halftime whistle.
Anthoney scored in the 61st minute. Zibraaz Sahib netted three minutes later while Anthoney grabbed his double in the 83rd minute.
Lautoka: Jone Sorolo, Noa Vukica, Zibraaz Sahib, Jone Kaloutani, Dave Radrigai, Jone Vonu Junior, Simon Anand Junior, Mitieli Namuka, Asombe Hendry Uche, Ali Chigozie Anthoney, Joape Mudre.
Tavua: Maika Nasema, Savenaca Nasara, Ilimeki Tuiviti, Tupeni, Waiwalu, Tomasi Uculoa, Kamueli Raniu, Atunaisa Baka, Sitiveni Caucau, Onisimo Ratu, Lekima Gonerau, Ronald Lawrence.