October 10, 2018
Lautoka succesfully defended the Courts Inter District Championship (IDC) at the ANZ Stadium today after beating host Suva 1-0 in the grand final.
As expected, the final proved to be an exciting affair with both teams displaying their different styles of football.
The first half was dominated by near misses, a couple of saves by the keepers and tight play in midfield by the two sides.
Star striker Benjamin Totori weaved his magic in the 51st minute as he walked past a couple of defenders on the right hand edge of the box and delivered a mid-air cross which was headed into the back of the net by Ba import Samuela Nabenia.
Suva toiled hard after the goal and many chances to score but solid defensive play by the Blues denied them everytime.
Solomon Islander Mathias Iani also got the equalizer in the 82nd minute but his final shot was daring blocked by nippy Afraz Ali.
Replacement striker Semi Matalau was denied twice in the dying minutes by goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau.
Lautoka Captain Samuela Drudru said they came into the tournament well prepared and believed in themselves.
He admitted that the loss to Labasa in group stages was a wake-up call and something that urged the players to get more serious and lift their performance.
"I am blessed to lead this team to victory in the IDC. There was a lot of pressure on us as defending champions but we worked hard and did our best to retain the title. I want to thank all the officials and their families as well as my team mates and their families for all the hard work and sacrifice. Without their support, this would not have been possible," he said.
Fan sponsored Lautoka walked away $22,000 richer while Lincoln Refrigeration sponsored Suva received $6000 for reaching the final.
By Reginald Chandar