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Suva wins opener

Rashneel Kumar
Sunday, January 19, 2014

SUVA has made its intention clear following a satisfactory 2-1 win over Labasa in the Fiji Sun/Skipper Tuna National Football League opener.

But the intention could have been clearer if its strikers had been on target at the ANZ Stadium in Laucala Bay yesterday.

Suva skipper Samuela Drudru, who scored the team's opening goal in the 8th minute of the play, squandered two golden opportunities later in the match with one in front of the open goalmouth in a gloomy encounter.

Labasa, which devoted much time in their classy, stylish play, equalised in the 17th minute through striker Joseph Mishra, who headed the ball in from a cross delivered by coach/player Pita Bolaitoga.

Both teams were locked 1-all at the break.

Labasa, which defended the Laucala end of the Stadium in the second spell, looked depleted as ever as their 4-3-3 formation faltered much to the delight of Suva strikers.

Suva coach Gurjit Singh played a tactical game putting marksman Drudru upfront as the lone striker, who managed to outrun the aging Labasa defenders led by Pene Erenio and outgoing skipper Taniela Waqa.

Replacement player and Fiji under-20 squad member Nickel Chand sealed the game for Suva in the 52nd minute following a blunder by goalkeeper Vereti Dickson.

Coach Singh was satisfied with the win but rued at the missed opportunities.

"Three points is very important. Although we didn't prepare well, I think the boys worked really hard."

Boilaitoga admitted the team failed to play according to their game plan.

"We lost the team shape, we didn't perform well. Maybe the fitness level was not there."

Meanwhile, Ba will host Nadi in the second leg of the Champion versus Champion series while Rewa battles Navua in the NFL encounter today.

Suva: Ulaiasi Tamanisau, Jale Dreloa, Tomasi Uculoa, Kolinio Sivoki, Waisake Navunigasau, Jonas Naceva, Ravinesh Karan Singh, Shahil Dave, Pita Rabo, Sakaraia Naisua, Samuela Drudru (C);

Labasa: Vereti Dickson, Kavaia Rawaqa, Posiano Kalisito, Pene Erenio, Krishneel Krishna, Taniela Waqa (C), Taione Kerevanua, Joseph Mishra, Edwin Sahayam, Pita Bolaitoga, Ilisoni Logaivou;

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