Friday, March 1, 2024
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Ba beats T/Naitasiri in IDC opener

Ba registered a 1-0 win over Tailevu Naitasiri in the opening match of the 2023 Courts Inter District Championship (IDC) at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva today.

Mohammed Ashif Khan’s men put on a good show from the opening whistle, functioning in tandem despite missing Argentinian midfielder Carlos Raffa  who has been ruled out of the tournament due to a severe knee injury.

Lanky striker Etonia Dogalau dropped down in the middle to receive a pass from midfielder Nabil Begg to initiate the move for the first strike of the day in the fifth minute.

Etonia Dogalau

Defender Praneel Naidu played an incisive through ball for Ba’s Solomon Islander Darold Kakasi inside the box, who squared off the pass but Tailevu Naitasiri goalkeeper Jason Rokovucake put on a man of the match performance jumping in the sky to punch the ball away in the 17th minute.

Stylish strikers Mosese Nabose and Martin Nasova threatened the Ba defence with counter-attacking moves but were well contained.

Jason Rokovucake1

In the 20th minute, Carlos Liomasia got closer to  putting Tailevu Naitasiri into the lead, but his powerful attempt sailed inches over the cross-bar.

Ba was awarded the first free kick in the 23rd minute when Tailevu Naitasiri defenders brought down Sailasa Ratu.

Naidu took the free kick but Rokovucake daringly tapped the ball away.

Jason Rokovucake

Two minutes later, Ba received their second free kick which was curled in well by Kakasi and had the goalkeeper beaten, only to see Geary Kubu clear the ball off the line.

The teams rested 0-0 at the break and lifted their performance after a well deserved break and getting the much needed hydration.

Early in the second half, Tailevu Naitasiri coach Priyant Mannu opted to pull out Kubu and replaced him with former Labasa and Navua rep Kirtesh Prasad to add more firepower to their defence.

Right-back Peceli Sukabula broke the deadlock in the 57th minute with a perfectly swung corner-kick which fooled the defence and the goalkeeper and landed into the roof of the net.

Peceli Sukabula

Immediately after, Ba sent in Malakai Rere and  Fataul Raheem to replace Raj Pillay and Captain Savenaca Nakalevu to keep their momentum going.

Tailevu Naitasiri did not give up the fight and continued to press on with striker Nabose missing a golden chance in the 64th minute as he had only the goalkeeper to beat but shot wide.

Replacement marksman Ratu Apenisa Anare could have doubled the lead for Ba in the 75th minute but his break-through run and body posture was well judged by Rokovucake who brilliantly made a save.

Neeshil Varman1

Ba will face neighbours Lautoka in their next match at 3pm tomorrow while Tailevu Naitasiri will come up against Labasa at 5pm.

The teams:

RC Manubhai Ba- Tevita Koroi (GK), Praneel Naidu, Darold Kakasi, Sailasa Ratu, Raj Pillay (Malakai Rere), Nabil Begg, Peceli Sukabula, Suliano Tawanikoro, Etonia Dogalau, Samuela Navoce, Savenaca Nakalevu (C) (Fataul Raheem).

Subs: Misiwani Nairube, Atunaisa Naucukidi, Rahul Naresh, Moshim Khan, Kasim Khan, Gulam Razool, Ratu Apenisa Anare, Salestino Caucau, Mohammed Fataul Raheem.

Security Systems Management / Oceania Fiberglass PTE Ltd Tailevu Naitasiri- Jason Rokovucake (GK), Prashant Chand, Sikeli Tuiloma, Abhishek Deo, Mosese Nabose, Mohammed Rasasa, Carlos Liomasia, France Catarogo, Geary Kubu (Kirtesh Prasad), Asaeli Tunidau, Evander Nasova.

Subs: Ameet Nand, Julian Tuinasakea, Keni Cagi, Ravikash Krishna, Sairusi Qiolevu, Nischal Lal, Stephen Kwaitee, Lorima Junior Batirerega, Rajneel Singh, Samuela Nasava.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist |


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