November 20, 2016
Defending champion Nadi has sealed its spot in the grand finale of the 2016 Pacific Cup after coming from behind to beat the United States of America (USA) All Stars 2-1 in a thrilling semifinal at Prince Charles Park today.
The USA All Stars suffered an early blow in the clash after Captain Kamal Hassan was pulled out in the 9th minute following an injury.
Rusiate Matarerega and Christopher Clarke missed two good chances for Nadi before the Americans got on the score-sheet.
A counter-attacking move by USA All Stars saw defender Luke Rawadamu tap the ball into his own net in his desperation to clear the possession away.
USA led 1-0 at halftime but a timely change by the Nadi bench made the difference as replacement striker Andrew Naicker headed in the equalizer from a corner kick.
Naicker was again involved in thee set up of the second goal as his through pass found Khem in the clear and the former Fiji U23 rep did not make any mistake as he walked past a defender and placed the ball beyond the reach of the goalkeeper.
Nadi dominated the remainder of the second half and missed more chances with Naicker hitting the post on one occasion.
The USA All Stars ended the match with only ten players after defender Kishan Prasad was sent off following his second booking.
Nadi will face the winner of the second semifinal (Suva vs NZFFI All Stars) in the grand finale which is scheduled to commence at 3.30pm.
By Reginald Chandar