Sunday, April 21, 2024
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10-man Blues upset FACT champions

A 10-man Lautoka outfit registered a 1-0 win over host and defending champions Suva in their opening Group A match of the 2023 Digicel Fiji FACT at the HFC Bank Stadium tonight.

The Whites, featuring without five key players, started well and launched some early attacks through Captain Samuela Drudru and Rusiate Matarerega.

Lautoka with prolific marksman Sairusi Nalaubu and Saula Waqa upfront also threatened with set-piece moves initiated in midfield by Captain Zibraaz Sahib.

The fast and constructively displayed first spell did not produce any goals and the two sides entered the second half with more urge and determination to net goals and seal victory.

Lautoka Coach Ronil Kumar pulled out Afraz Ali and sent in Manasa Nawakula while Suva replaced Merill Nand and Matarerega with Joeli Ranitu and Bruce Hughes.

The Sugar City boys managed to find the winner in the 73rd minute after a mid-air through pass saw lanky Waqa connect with a diving header and beating goalie Akuila Mateisuva.

The Blues finished the match with only ten players after Epeli Leiroti was sent off for a crude challenge on Ramzan Khan.

Suva will now play Ba in its next match at 7pm tomorrow while Lautoka will come up against Navua at 1pm.

The teams:

Container Haulage PTE Ltd, Extra Supermarket and All Freight Logistics Suva– Akuila Mateisuva, Meli Codro (Sanaila Waqanicakau), Inoke Turagalailai, Rusiate Matarerega (Bruce Hughes), Ramzan Khan, Dave Radrigai, Malakai Rakula, Ravnesh Karan Singh, Samuela Drudru (C), Filipe Baravilala, Merill Nand (Joeli Ranitu).

Hyperchem Lautoka– Senirusi Bokini, Epeli Leiroti, Zibraaz Sahib (C) (Antonio Tuivuna),  Afraz Ali (Manasa Nawakula), Sitiveni Cavuilagi, Aporosa Yada, Ilimotama Jese, Kishan Sami, Sairusi Nalaubu, Saula Waqa, Sakaraia Naisua.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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