Navua coach Saiyad Ali says breaking Suva’s defence was key in their 1-0 win over the Whites in the second semifinal of the 2023 Rooster Chicken/Scoops Ice Cream Battle of the Giants tournament at the HFC Bank Stadium tonight.
After a goalless first half, Ali revealed that he instructed the players to pressurize and break the solid Suva defence in order to snatch the winner.
“We had a game plan and the boys stuck to it from the first till the final whistle of the game. We sustained a lot of pressure and we wanted to sit back and absorb that before we applied pressure on Suva.”
“We did not want to go attacking unnecessarily so we had been sitting back in our half which was our game plan to allow Suva to come out from their territory and we kept looking for the opportunity.”
“The message to the boys was to scatter Suva’s defence and that worked really well. When we eventually got that opportunity, we capitalized on it and the goal came.”
Ali also said they had a tense atmosphere in the changing room at the break after they missed a couple of perfect scoring opportunities.
“The best opportunity for the goal was in the first half and Brian did miss that but he kept in his mind that he would score and then at the break, I talked to him.”
“I said ‘Son you might get only one opportunity or not even but if you get make sure you do score and make everyone happy and that message sparked him. It was a really wonderful game.”
“We didn’t want to give more space in between the lines and that’s why if you look at our team, the defence and midfield were too close and they denied the space Suva was looking to score from which became more difficult for them.”
While thanking his players for putting up a wonderful show against a star-studded team like Suva, Ali added that players showed a lot of consistency in the game today.
“It’s a great feeling because since Navua returned to the Premier Division, this is the first time we have beaten them in a tournament semifinal and on their home ground.”
“Consistency was our main objective and then I can see that the team has been consistent. Whatever we have been planning since Day 1 of the tournament, we are achieving that one game at a time.”
“This victory is very sweet and special for all the people of Navua.”
The final between Southern Forest Navua and Extra Supermarket Labasa will kick start at 3pm tomorrow.