THE Nadroga soccer team made a positive start of the season after they defeated Lautoka 2-1 in the Fiji Sun/Skipper Tuna National Football League opening round at Lawaqa Park yesterday.
Former Ba player Peni Finau drew first blood for Nadroga in the 9th minute of the opening spell.
Lautoka's Leisari Qalica equalised in the 56th minute when Blues striker Alvin Avinesh gifted him with a well-timed pass.
The visitors seemed to have the game under control as they displayed short crisp passes and threatened the Nadroga goalmouth time and again in the second spell.
Nadroga striker Tomasi Tuicakau had three golden chances to increase his team's score line with only the goalkeeper to beat but all his feeble attempts sailed past the cross bar.
But it was the experience of brothers Finau and Leone Vurukania that obviously helped Nadroga from the danger zone.
Nadroga's solid defence and the formation of the players made it difficult for the opposition to penetrate.
In the 82nd minute the host turned defence into attack that caught Lautoka off guard and this resulted in Shivneel Sharma's goal giving Nadroga a 2-1 win.
Nadroga soccer president Vijay Singh said the victory was dedicated to all Nadroga soccer fans.
"The win is for them, they had faith in these players," he said.
He also praised the combined efforts of Finau and Vurukania.
"They are very influential to the team and being part of it is an asset."
Lautoka soccer coach Dennis Singh said the team had opportunities but failed to use them.
"In soccer, if you don't take your chance it will bite you in the end," he said.
"Nadroga had their opportunity and they used it but there was some individual play from Lautoka and we will rectify that before we play Rewa in our next game .
"But it was the first game of the season and I won't be pressing any panic button just for now."
Singh said he was using youth players to develop them.
"We'll bounce back," he said.
The National League started yesterday Suva beating Labasa 2-1 at the ANZ Stadium.