Vakatalesau to miss Blues game

DEFENDING champions Lautoka will miss the services of star striker Osea Vakatalesau for the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants semi-final against Jack’s Nadi this afternoon.

Vakatalesau is on automatic suspension after copping consecutive yellow cards during the group stages.

Despite Vakatalesau’s absence, the General Machinery Blues have a lot of firepower in attack led by captain Valerio Nawatu, Siotama Kubu, Mohammed Shazil, Samuela Drudru and Leisari Qalica.

Since the inception of the tournament in 1978, Lautoka has reached the final nine times, but only lifted the title twice.

The Sugar City side has not lost to Nadi in the past two seasons.

Lautoka Football Association president Abdul Kadar said the pressure was on the team to perform as they would be playing on their home turf.

Kadar said they would not underestimate Nadi.

He said the recent record against their neighbouring district would not matter in the semi-final.

“It will not be an easy game for us,” Kadar said.

“Nadi has played in all the semi-finals of the major tournaments this season,” he said.

“They have brought in Yogendra Dutt to guide them. Dutt has an excellent track record as a coach. Like every team we want to win.

“There are no injury concerns. The preparations have been done and now the onus is on the players to deliver on the field.”

Kadar said fans had been enquiring about the presale of tickets.

“The ticket booths are expected to open early at Churchill Park so that fans can purchase the tickets early to avoid standing in long queues,” he said.

“We anticipate a big crowd to converge at Churchill Park and hope to see many turning up in the blue colour.”

The semi-final will kick off at 3pm. The final will be held at the same venue tomorrow starting at 2.30pm.

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