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Keeper's blunder helps Rewa to semis

Zanzeer Singh
Monday, August 25, 2014

A horrendous injury time blunder by one of Fiji's and Nadi's top goalkeepers Benaminio Mateinaqara against Rewa ended his team's 2014 Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants hopes at Govind Park in Ba yesterday.

Rewa defeated Nadi 1-0 to send the Jetsetters packing from the tournament.

Nadi needed a win in the match to reach the semi-final but was undone by Mateinaqara's wayward clearance.

Instead of the ball heading towards the Rewa territory, it went backwards allowing Delta Tigers striker Setareki Hughes to tap it in.

Nadi dominated possession on attack but could not get the ball past former national rep Simione Tamanisau who played gallantly under the Rewa crossbar.

Tamanisau pulled off many good saves and was strong especially in aerial play.

Nadi coach Kamal Swamy said they failed to capitalise on their opportunities.

Swamy said their midfield play needed changing because the strikers failed to get quality ball.

"It is now back to the drawing board," he said.

"We have to work on the midfielders to create the opportunities for the strikers to score the goals.

"After our Fiji FACT victory the other teams have studied our midfield combination. They came up with their strategies to counter us.

"Unfortunately we did not qualify but the young boys have a long way to go."

Swamy said they had to push the boys upfront to look for the winning goal.

He did not blame Mateinaqara for playing out of possession at times.

"It is always the case that when you need a win, you need numbers upfront," Swamy said.

"In the dying stages we always have to put all the boys upfront to get the goal to earn three points. Any coach would do that because it is modern football.

"It is not that we cannot put goalkeepers upfront. It always creates a commotion when you have your goalkeeper in the opposition box.

"The focus now turns to the National Football League. We have two games left and hopefully we win and then prepare better for the Inter District Competition.

Rewa coach Marika Rodu said if Nadi had secured a semi-final spot then it would have been through their mistake.

Rodu said Tamanisau marshalled the troops well from the back.

"The game was a tough one with both teams having equal chances of qualifying for the semi-final," he said.

"Nadi had a slim chance like at the Fiji FACT where they grabbed that opportunity and qualified for the semi-final and then won the tournament.

"So if Nadi was going to qualify for the semi-final that it would have been through our fault. We made sure that we had our guards up until the final whistle. Simi's guidance from the back was very important.

"The crowd support in Suva will be vital and we will need the fans to lift the boys on the field with their cheering."

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