September 03, 2016
Labasa has progressed to the grand finale of the 2016 INKK Mobile Battle Of Giants after coming from behind to outclass a 10-man Suva 4-1 in the first semifinal today at Ratu Cakobau Park.
Suva went up in the 24th minute of play through a Setareki Hughes goal and led 1-0 at the break.
A recharged and determined performance by the Babasiga Lions in the second half saw them dominate possession.
Match referee Rakesh Chandra awarded Labasa a penalty in the 58th minute after Tomasi Uculoa went high in an aerial battle and kicked Christopher Wasasala in the head with his boot.
Ilisoni Logaivou converted the penalty and leveled scores.
Suva Captain Nickel Chand was sent off in the 72nd minute for retaliation after getting fouled by Labasa’s Ratu Anare. Ratu Anare copped a yellow card for the incident.
With a player short, Suva failed to defend well and allowed Ravinesh Karan Singh to tap in Labasa’s second in the 78th minute after connecting with a Ratu Anare through pass.
Ratu Anare then followed with their third goal in the 86th minute and Singh scored his second and Labasa’s fourth goal in injury time after seeing the goalkeeper off his line and chipping the ball over his head from out-wide.
Labasa will meet the winner of the second semifinal (Lautoka vs Rewa) in the grand finale at 3pm tomorrow.
NEL Engineering Suva- Emori Ragata, Jale Dreloa, Nickel Chand (C), Pita Rabo, Setareki Hughes, Kelvin Naidu, Madhawan Goundar, Tomasi Uculoa, Samuela Drudru, Waisake Navunigasau, Filipe Baravilala.
Labasa- Akuila Mateisuva (C), Edwin Sahayam, Christopher Wasasala, Ravinesh Karan Singh, Manasa Levaci, Ratu Anare, Gabriel Matanisiga, Ilisoni Logaivou, Ilisoni Lolaivalu, Taniela Waqa, Leone Damudamu.
Referee: Rakesh Chandra
By Reginald Chandar