July 22, 2018
Striker Bruce Hughes scored a brace of goals in the second half as Suva defeated Nadi 2-0 and topped Pool A of the 2018 INKK Mobile Battle Of Giants (BOG) at Churchill Park in Lautoka today.
The Whites needed to win the fixture to send defending champion Rewa out of the tournament.
After playing to a goal-less draw in the first half, the Whites found their rhythm in the second spell and opened their account in the 55th minute as Hughes slammed in a pile driver from outside the box giving Nadi goalie Samuela Tamanisau no chance at all.
The former Fiji U20 rep again registered his name on the score-sheet 11 minutes later as he neatly followed through a Shahil Dave cross and tapped the ball into the back of the net.
The result saw Suva, Nadi and Rewa all finish group stage competition with 6 points each.
Suva managed to top the group due to a better goal difference of +7 while Nadi finished second with a goal difference of +4 and Rewa finished third with a goal difference of 0 while Dreketi ended the tournament with no points.
Professional Valuation sponsored Suva Coach Gurjit Singh said he was proud of his players and their improved performance in this tournament.
“We made a bad start but got better as we played more games. Our scoring improved vastly over the last two days as well and this is a positive sign going into the semifinals.”
“I could not get much time to prepare this team but now that we have qualified for the semifinals, we will have a bit more time together to work on our game plan and map out strategies for the next match,” he said.
Nadi Coach Babs Khan said they did not want to risk some key players and opted to keep them on the bench.
“It was a tough match and we had to keep top goalkeeper Vereti Dickson on the bench as he had an injury. Also Napolioni Qasevakatini too was injured and had to rest.”
“We played well and I am happy that we have qualified for the semifinals. We know next week things will get more tough and the players will get back to training after a little rest and then we will work on our game plan for the semifinal,” he said.
Suva will feature in the first semifinal next Saturday at a venue which is yet to be confirmed while Nadi will appear in the second semifinal.
By Reginald Chandar