Fiji Times Logo

Fiji Time: 12:46 PM on Monday 21 April

/ Front page / Sport

Kumar saves League

Zanzeer Singh
Monday, December 16, 2013

COMBINE FC's luck ran out in the semi-final of the Kriz Signs National Club Championship at Prince Charles Park in Nadi yesterday after going down to fellow Navua club League FC 3-2 in extra time.

The Manoj Kumar-coached Combine side qualified for the National Club Championship play-offs from the Navua Football Association local league competition despite losing to the district under-20 in the semi-final.

In the National Club Championship on the weekend, the Combine team qualified for the semi-final after losing two matches.

The side was already packed up to head back to Navua on Saturday night when Blues upset United One 1-0 to give them a life-line.

It was a miracle recovery for Combine in the semi-final after being down 0-2.

After a scoreless first half, League scored through Inia Boko. Simione Maikali doubled League's scores from the penalty spot.

Injured Rajnil Chand came off the bench to pull one back for Combine through a penalty. Vineet Chand equalised with a screamer from 25 metres in the dying stages to shock League sending the match into extra-time.

Praneel Kumar scored the winner for League in the second extra spell.

Combine coach Kumar said they had many new players some of whom had never played in a major event before.

"The good thing is that our officials like Eddie Fong Toy put in a lot of effort to get this club running," Kumar said.

"This is not an old club. The boys reside in Nakaulevu. For some of them this was the first time to play in a high level competition.

"Forget about this semi-final, some of them have not even played out of Navua. For us this is a positive result.

"We had a lot of luck. Our district U21 team could not qualify because they are a development side. We got through as the second best qualifier.

"Here we lost two pool games and reached the semi-final. For our players they have shown that they have the ability to make the district team."