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Saukuru's goal sends Capital City team out of title contention

Rashneel Kumar
Sunday, August 31, 2014

SUPER sub Epeli Saukuru scored in the second spell of extra time to put Rewa through to the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants final this afternoon.

The striker, who went into the match in the second spell, took advantage of sloppy defending from pre-tournament favourites Suva to blast home the winner in the 110th minute in the opening semi-final at the ANZ Stadium yesterday.

The Delta Tigers defeated the Capital City side 2-1 in a closely contested affair.

Suva, which played with 10 men following a red card to Dave Radrigai midway the first spell, scored first through striker Inia Boko.

Boko neatly slotted the opener in the 8th minute after a Ravinesh Karan Singh cross from the right flank found him clear in the six-yard box.

Suva asserted dominance and control in the game with a goal advantage but consecutive yellow cards to Radrigai hurt their game plan.

Defender Radrigai was first cautioned by referee Andrew Achari for a crude tackle followed by another yellow card for diving in the Rewa box.

A blunder by Suva goalkeeper Emori Ragata in the 36th minute saw youngster Savenaca Nakalevu sneak in for the equaliser.

Both teams were tied at 1-all at the break.

Suva coach Gurjit Singh tightened his defence as skipper Pita Rabo made ways for strikers Boko and Ravinesh to maintain the pressure on Simione Tamanisau's troop. But Rewa coach Marika Rodu had other ideas and his 3-4-1-2 formation got the better of Suva's 4-4-2.

Rewa's strong attacking play led by Garish Prasad, Setareki Hughes, Misaele Draunibaka and Shellveen Prasad with a sturdy defence from Lorima Dau, Simione Maikali and Tamanisau took control of the match in the second spell.

Both teams had chances to take the lead but failed to capitalise on those opportunities.

It was in the second spell of extra time that made the difference after Saukuru nailed the winner.

Rewa - Simione Tamanisau (C), Peniame Drova, Lorima Dau, Simione Maikali, Garish Prasad, Savenaca Nakalevu, Shellveen Prasad, Misaele Draunibaka, Jone Kaloutani, Ratu Lomasalato, Setareki Hughes Suva - Emori Ragata, Dave Radrigai, Waisake Navunigasau, Pita Rabo (C), Jale Dreloa, Kolinio Sivoki, Nickel Chand, Ravinesh Singh, Leone Damudamu, Inia Boko

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