September 18, 2016
Stylish striker Mohammed Shazil Ali netted a hat-trick as Lautoka came from behind to beat Rewa 3-2 in a thrilling Vodafone Premier League clash at Prince Charles Park in Nadi today.
The match- a repeat of the Battle Of Giants semifinal proved to be exciting from the beginning and Rewa was first to get on the score board through a Joseph Mishra goal in the 24th minute of play.
Mishra combined well with Amani Makoe to place the ball beyond the reach of Lautoka goalie Senirusi Bokini.
A defensive blunder by Simione Maikali towards the end of the first half allowed Lautoka to level scores. His clearance deflected off Ali and landed into goal.
Ali scored his second and perhaps the goal of the day in the 57th minute after beautifully beating three Rewa defenders and goalkeeper Benito Waqavou. He was neatly fed a lovely rolling ball from the midfield by Jone Vono Junior.
Mishra hit the cross-bar with his attempt for Rewa a couple of minutes later and Ali once again punished the Rewa defence in the 86th minute with a perfectly timed run and a clinical finish- wrapping the win for Lautoka.
Amani Makoe pulled one back for Rewa in the 89th minute.
Lautoka’s Assistant Coach Aginesh Prasad was elated with the result and said he knew they would put on a good fight and win the match.
“It’s a good win after us after the BOG win. We did not slacken down and regrouped on Monday after taking a one week break.”
“We had a fit team and a committed set of players. We knew we would come back and score goals and that’s what happened. I am happy with the performance of the boys and now we will regroup and see who we will play next week and we will set our game plan according to the strength and weaknesses of our next opponent,” said Prasad.
Rewa Coach Marika Rodu said his players needed an attitude change and he had warned them at halftime to lift their game as Lautoka was going to come out firing after the break.
“We lost focus early in the second half. We were too lenient in our style of play and we have to just blame the attitude of players for the result of this game.”
“We let loose late in the first half and allowed a stupid goal. We need to work on our attitude problem and I hope to see some changes in the next game against Labasa.”
“Some of our key players like Simione Tamanisau, Lorima Dau and Posiano Kalisito were not here today and we still have a good squad and will look at strengthening our team before IDC, he said.
The win shifts Lautoka to the top of the table with 13 points after 6 matches while Rewa is on 5th spot with 7 points after playing 5 matches.
Rewa- Benito Waqavou, Peniame Drova, Simione Maikali, Bruce Hughes, Amani Makoe, Usaia Tadu, Jonetani Buksh, Josateki Tamudu, Iosefo Verevou, Savenaca Nakalevu, Joseph Mishra.
Lautoka- Senirusi Bokni, Iliesa Lino, Peni Finau, Kavaia Rawaqa, Zibraaz Sahib, Edward Justin, Jone Vono, Mohammed Shazil Ali, Ratu Josefata Dugucagi, Dave Radrigai, Jone Kaloutani.
By Reginald Chandar