September 18, 2016
Inspirational Captain Eliki Ravosai scored a goal in each half as Nadi defeated Labasa 2-1 in its second Vodafone Premier League fixture of the weekend at Subrail Park today.
After being held to a 2-2 draw by Dreketi last night, the reigning champions lifted their performance and the return of striker Napolioni Qasevakatini and Ilimotama Jese from suspension strengthened their line-up.
Ravosai opened Nadi’s account after making a timely run from his centre-back’s position midway in the first half and slamming the ball into the back of the net giving Labasa goalie Akuila Mateisuva no chance at all.
Stylish Labasa striker Ratu Apenisa Anare leveled scores in the later stages of the half as the teams rested all even at the break.
Both teams were reduced to 10 players each in the second half following the sending off of Nadi’s Napolioni Qasevakatini and Labasa’s Manasa Levaci.
The pair was sent off following their second booking of the day.
Ironically, both players had just returned to the starting lineups of their respective teams after missing yesterday’s games due to double card bookings.
With just two minutes remaining on the clock, Nadi went on the attack through a counter-move and lanky Ravosai was in the right place at the right time to drive home the winner and clinch the important result for the Jetsetters.
Nadi Coach Joseph Nand told FijiLive that both games in the weekend were tough and they were made to work extremely hard to return home with four points.
“We had a tough game against Dreketi and had to work very hard to draw that match and today Labasa also gave us a very tough game and I am happy that we managed to record good results this weekend.”
“The heat really took its toll on us today but I believe the match fitness and determination of the players enabled us to win and move up on the points table. The competition is getting tougher with all teams really preparing well and we have to be well prepared for all our remaining games.”
Nand added that veteran Ravosai’s contribution in the weekend had been immense and he hopes to use him upfront in future games.
“ He has been scoring goals this season and it is part of our game plan to let him go on attack while the other centre-back stay back and covers. Today he scored both our goals and I want to try him in the striker’s position very soon.”
“He is 35-years-old now but his fitness level is good and his work-rate on the field is amazing and I hope to see more him in the upcoming games,” he added.
Nadi now has 11 points after playing 7 matches and is placed second behind leaders Suva who have 12 points after 4 matches.
Labasa on the other hand remains on sixth place with 6 points after 5 matches.
By Reginald Chandar