Suva bundled out

MISSED opportunities and uncharacteristic mistakes booted Suva out of the Fiji Airways OFC Champions League.

The Capital City side squandered the chance to remain in the tournament after going down to Amicale FC 3-2 in a pulsating Group B clash at the ANZ Stadium last night.

Suva after the 3-0 loss to New Zealand’s Auckland City on Saturday needed a win in the second pool match to keep their chances alive in their first-ever OFC tournament.

So did Amicale which came out on top against Western United of Solomon Islands in the opening round 1-0.

The match started on a slow pace with both teams taking a cautious approach, testing each others strengths and exploiting the weaknesses.

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Amicale which fielded Fijians Osea Vakatalesau, Samuela Kautoga and Ilaitia Tuilau took some early attempts at Suva goal but Emori Ragata stood his ground well and pulled some brave saves in the opening quarter of the match.

That didn’t last long after Ragata was beaten by a low strike from Vakatalesau which deflected into the back of the net in the 16th minute of the play.

Amicale kept its pressure on Suva defence but failed to get more goals.

The Whites managed the equaliser in the 36th minute from Nickel Chand who placed in the beautiful cross from Abdulwali Aman.

Both teams went into the break locked at 1-1.

Vakatalesau scored his second two minutes into the second spell after a fumble by Suva defence to give Amicale 2-1 lead.

Suva coach Gurjit Singh, who was left frustrated by the offside calls on striker Aman, brought in Waisake Navunigasau to strengthen his attack and the player responded with a stellar cross which beat lanky Amicale stopper Mauro Boerchio for a 2-all score line.

The game seemed to have headed for a draw before Fenedy Masauvakalo neatly tapped in the winner in the injury time to give Amicale a 3-2 win.

Suva coach Singh was satisfied with the performance from his side adding the team had learnt a lot from its debut tournament.

“This was one of the best games so far. Both the teams needed a win in order to qualify for the semi-finals and we expected this kind of intensity,” Singh said.

“If we look at the pool itself, we are playing against one of the best teams but I think it was a good performance and it was just unfortunate we lost.”

Amicale coach Marco Banchini said they were lucky to have come out with the maximum points.

“When it was 2-all draw, I thought some of the players stopped believing about winning but then that special moment has given us another chance,” Banchini said.

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