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Blues win first game

Arin Kumar
Monday, March 10, 2014

A BRACE of goals to Alvin Avinesh gave Lautoka their first victory in the Fiji Sun/Skipper Tuna National Football League.

The 2-0 win against Navua at Nausori's Ratu Cakobau Park ended Lautoka's five-match losing streak and gave them hope of remaining in the Super Premier division.

A penalty in the first half and a neat finish from inside the 18-yard box in the second half sealed the victory for the Sugar City side.

Lautoka coach Dennis Singh said a change of heart from his players and a return of experienced players proved to be the winning combination for the side.

"After five straight losses, the players really needed a change of heart for the jersey they wear," he said.

"Also I made some changes to the line-up by taking out those players who performed half-heartedly and replacing them with experienced players."

With Lautoka now facing an exodus of players, Singh is confident of using the same players he used yesterday and a few veterans to lift Lautoka out of the danger zone.

"Around 50 per cent of the players from the first match this season are out and we will use those who are with us to try and win our remaining games so that we can lift ourselves from the bottom of the points table."

Interim Navua coach Manoj Kumar said they would take the loss as a lesson but the result could have been different had some fouls been seen by the referee.

"There were two clear handballs by Lautoka in the same play in their own box and one was seen by the referee while the other was only seen by the linesman," he said.

"For the penalty we conceded, I agree it was justified but had we gotten the penalty for the handballs, the result could have been different."

Kumar apologised to Navua fans for the loss but assured them their district would not be demoted this season.

Five of Navua's players are also seeking release from the district but Kumar said that would not deter them.

"We will only use players who have pride for the district and the jersey and I would like to thank James Charitar and Nazir Hussein for coming to play even though there was a death in their family.

"That is what I call pride for the district."

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