July 15, 2018
Replacement striker Mohammed Shazil Ali netted an injury time winner as champions Lautoka came from behind to beat Nadi 3-2 in a thrilling Vodafone Premier League fixture at Churchill Park today.
The clash between the Western giants proved to an exciting affair as both teams displayed good football and kept their fans on the edge of their seats.
The Blues had to re-organize their defence as top sweeper Kolinio Sivoki missed the match as he had two yellow cards to his name.
Youngster Epeli Rokotuva who broke his leg in the semifinal of the IDC last year made his first appearance of the season since his recovery and replaced Sivoki in the starting team.
Midfielder Dave Radrigai also returned to the lineup after a one month suspension.
Captain Samuela Drudru opened Lautoka’s account in the 13th minute after tapping in a rebound from his initial attempt which came off goalkeeper Vereti Dickson.
The visitors managed to level the scores after Napolioni Qasevakatini beautifully walked inside the box and slammed the ball into the back of the net in the 44th minute.
The teams rested 1-1 at halftime.
Nadi applied more pressure in the second half and after being denied by the wood-work on two occasions, lanky Rusiate Matarerega managed to sneak in with their second goal in the 81st minute.
Solomon Islands import Benjamin Totori managed to win a penalty in the dying stages of the match after getting fouled inside the box by Rupeni Rabici.
The offence also saw Rabici picking up a red card.
Midfielder Zibraaz Sahib successfully converted the penalty to level the scores and the Blues managed to sneak away with a win when Ali pounced onto a through pass in-front of the goalmouth.
Lautoka now has 21 points on the standings after playing 9 matches while Nadi has 11 points after also playing 9 matches.
By Reginald Chandar