NUKULOA College of Ba started its Vodafone Secondary Schools Championships campaign on a high note defeating Labasa Muslim College 1-0 in the under-17 pool game at Govind Park yesterday.
Playing with only 10 men for three quarters of the game failed to deter the spirits of the hosts as they went on to overcome their first hurdle.
Goalkeeper Atunaisa Ratubaka was the toast of the Nukuloa team as he scored the winning goal through a penalty kick in the dying stages of the game.
Ratubaka also made some wonderful saves at the goalmouth and was a thorn to the Labasa strikers throughout the game.
Despite the win, the team needs to improve its discipline after their top striker Martin Navosa was red-carded.
Navosa, the top goal scorer in the Ba zone copped two yellow cards for indiscpline and will miss the game against Nadi College.
Nukuloa coach Nazim Ali said he was happy with the win but urged his players to lift their game in the second game.
The side will face Nausori in their second game and Ali believes the team is capable of a win.
Labasa College mentor Mohammed Ismail Taj said his team wasted too many scoring opportunities.
He said the Northerners should lift their performance in their second pool game against Nadi Muslim today.
Meanwhile in the other U17 games played yesterday, Nadi Muslim thumped Nausori High School 4-0.