October 12, 2017
Nippy midfielder Shahil Dave netted a double in the second half as Suva defeated Tavua 3-1 in its final group match at Churchill Park today and booked its spot in the semi-finals of the 2017 Courts Inter District Championship (IDC).
The two sides entered the match with an equal chance of qualifying as Tavua had 2 points and a win would have seen them through while Suva had 3 points and also needed a win to progress.
Striker Ravinesh Karan Singh gave the Smart and Efficient Security Services sponsored Whites the lead in the 22nd minute but a mistake in defence allowed Tavua to level scores three minutes later through Waisea Duwai as the teams headed to the break with a 1-1 draw.
Both teams missed a number of chances at goal and some tactical changes by Suva saw them apply more pressure in the last quarter of the match.
Dave increased Suva’s lead 77th minute with a powerful volley from outside the box.
And he again got on the score-sheet a minute later as the Tavua defence made a mistake and gave him the chance to slam the ball into the back of the net.
Suva finishes group stage play with 6 points and will wait for the outcome of the Lautoka vs Nadi match to know its standing in Group B. A win for Lautoka will see them top the group while a loss or draw will favour Suva.
Technical Advisor Anginesh Prasad said they entered the field with a lot of confidence and the win over Nadi yesterday boost their morale.
“We knew Tavua will come out firing as they also had the chance to qualify. When they levelled the match, we told our players to keep pressing hard and this allowed us to score goals and win the match.”
“Our Coach Sam Lal and the officials have worked hard to prepare this team and the players have done a fantastic job. Bouncing back from a 2-0 loss in the first game and winning the remaining matches is indeed a good achievement and now that we have progressed to the semi-finals, we will work hard and will try to win the tournament,” he said.
Tavua Coach Anand Sami said simple defensive blunders allowed Suva to score and win the match.
“We made simple defensive mistakes and this allowed Suva to score the goals and win this match. We had our chances in both halves and should have capitalised but sadly we could not do that and football is all about scoring the goals.”
“We came into the IDC as a new team and these set of players have really done the district of Tavua proud with their excellent display over the last three days. We came in as underdogs but showed the big teams what damage we can do and I am really proud of my players. They have a very bright future ahead of them and I wish the team all the success in future,” Sami added.
Suva- Tevita Koroi (C), Leone Damudamu, Kelvin Naidu (Simione Damuni), Pita Rabo (Kaliova Tivulu), Setareki Hughes, Ravinesh Karan Singh, Tomasi Uculoa (Sakaraia Naisua), Waisake Navunigasau, Shahil Dave, Filipe Baravilala, Bruce Hughes.
Tavua- Jovilisi Borisi, Vilitati Kautoga, Niteshwar Reddy, Semi Vakatalai, Aporosa Balei, Maikeli Sivo, Marika Rawasoi, Waisea Duwai, Savenaca Adronu, Manasa Drua, Waisake Soga.
Referee: Dinamani Mudaliar
By Reginald Chandar