November 23, 2017
Labasa bounced back to winning ways in the 2017 Pacific Cup and defeated Rewa 1-0 at Bill McKinley Park in Auckland today.
Both teams suffered losses in their opening matches last night and needed a positive result in this fixture to keep their semifinal hopes alive in Group A.
Rewa fielded five guest players- Anushil Singh, Maximo Diego, Sam Burfoot, Jared Goligon and Mikael Brebeveldt in its starting lineup and featured without top goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau who has been ruled out of the tournament with a broken finger.
The Babasiga Lions on the other hand used brothers Anish Khem and Ashnil Raju upfront while veteran Taniela Waqa, Lekima Gonerau, Thomas Steiner and Amani Makoe crowded their midfield.
Khem scored the winner for Labasa in the 20th minute from a solo effort after he walked past a couple of Rewa defenders and unleashed a powerful low shot which went to the right of goalie Epeli Loaniceva.
Labasa led 1-0 at halftime and managed to hang onto its lead till the final whistle.
Guest players Munit Krishna, Alvin Avinesh and Solomon Islander Michael Fifi’i were introduced by the Northerners in the second half.
Rewa after two straight losses now needs to beat NZFFI Northshore All Stars at any cost tomorrow at 5.45pm to stand a chance while Labasa will face an acid test against NZFFI All Stars at 6.55pm.
Rewa- Epeli Loaniceva, Maximo Diego, Peniame Drova, Madhavan Goundar, Vuniuci Tikomaimereke (Taione Kerevanua), Gabrielle Matanisiga (Josateki Tamudu), Iosefo Verevou (Jonetani Buksh), Anushil Singh (Sairusi Nalaubu), Sam Burfoot, Jared Goligan, Mikael Brebeveldt.
Labasa- Akuila Mateisuva, Manasa Levaci, Taniela Waqa, Antonio Tuivuna, Amani Makoe, Ilisoni Loloivalu, Thomas Steiner (Munit Krishna), Jale Dreloa, Lekima Gonerau, Anish Khem (Michael Fifi’i), Ashnil Raju (Alvin Avinesh).
By Reginald Chandar
Photo: File Photo