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Matarerega nails winner for Nadi

Zanzeer Singh
Sunday, August 24, 2014

RUSIATE Matarerega scored a 35-metre screamer to set up Nadi's come from behind 2-1 victory against Labasa at the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants at Govind Park in Ba yesterday.

Down by a goal, Matarerega powered in a free kick in the 75th minute which sparked Shop N Save Nadi's revival.

Labasa goalkeeper Epeli Loaniceva had a horrible final quarter as Nadi picked up the pace.

Loaniceva failed to judge Krishna Sami's free kick in the 87th minute creating one of the worst blunders of the tournament.

Sami's drive from 40 metres bounced over the head of Loaniceva sailing to the back of the net.

Labasa had earlier scored through Netani Doli in the 53rd minute after a scoreless first spell.

Despite the win Nadi with a star studded strike force having Samuela Drudru, Napolioni Qasevakatini and Matarerega failed to jell and had to rely on set piece play to score.

Nadi coach Kamal Swamy said they had to win at any cost to be in contention for the semi-final.

Swamy said Drudru was heavily marked.

"It was the similar thing we had against Lautoka in the Fiji FACT coming from behind," he said.

"The positive attitude is there. Drudru was heavily marked and has not been getting the quality ball. If he gets those quality balls then he can show that he is the best striker in the country."

Nadi and Rewa will clash in the deciding match this afternoon.

Swamy said they would have to perform against Rewa to qualify to the next stage.

"We have to look at the injuries and yellow card factors before deciding on the strategies for the next game," he said.

Labasa coach Bal Sanju Reddy said lapse of concentration cost them the game.

"Nadi scored from a set piece play which the goalkeeper could not judge," Reddy said.

"The boys played well but they thought that they had the win in the bag after going one goal up. They were slow in defence whenever Nadi was on the counter attack."

Labasa went down to Rewa 1-0 on Friday.

The Northerners take on Ba in the final Group B game at 5pm today.

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