Nadi, Rewa final
23 July, 2017, 12:00 am
NADI goalkeeper Vereti Dickson pulled off three terrific saves in the penalty shootout to guide his side to a 3-1 victory against Lautoka in the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants semi-final at Churchill Park yesterday.
The victory earned Jack’s Nadi a berth in the final against Rewa this afternoon which is a repeat of the Vodafone Fiji FACT final in June which the Delta Tigers won 1-0.
It was a double celebration for Vereti whose wife gave birth to a baby boy earlier in the day.
Vereti was handed the task by coach Yogendra Dutt to organise the line-up for the penalty shootout after both teams were scoreless after 120 minutes of football.
Dutt said he had a lot of confidence in Vereti to pull off the victory.
“It was a wonderful display of football by both teams,” he said.
“The game had to be decided on penalty kicks. Vereti has a record of saving penalties.
“So I had confidence in him to come up with the goods. I asked him to organise the players.
“He is a very confident goalkeeper when it comes to penalties. We now have to recover for the final.”
Vereti dedicated the victory to his newborn son.
“I told my family that I was going to play for them,” he said.
“He is my namesake Vereti Dickson Jr.”
Lautoka held the upper hand in attack throughout the 90 minutes while Nadi relied on fast counter attacks.
Lautoka striker Samuela Drudru had a one-on-one chance with Vereti but drove the ball straight into his hands.
Lautoka’s Beniamino Mateinaqara pulled off a spectacular acrobatic one-handed save blocking Rusiate Matarerega’s powerhouse right footer from 30 metres in the 51st minute.
It was a repeat of the 2007 BOG semi-final between the two teams which Nadi won in a penalty shootout at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori.
Zibraaz Sahib scored the opening penalty for Lautoka and then saved successive attempts from Leisari Qalica, Mateinaqara and Jone Vonu Jr.
Napolioni Qasevakatini, Ame Votoniu and Rusiate Matarerga scored for Nadi while Elvin Prasad missed his kick.
The final will kick off at Churchill Park at 2.30pm.