Defending champion Labasa suffered a 1-0 loss to Rewa in their first match of the 2023 Rooster Chicken/Scoops Ice-Cream Battle of the Giants in Nadi today.
Captain Setareki Hughes netted the lone goal of the tensed encounter for Rewa in the 49th minute.
The Delta Tigers after a 1-0 loss to Suva yesterday, needed a positive result in the encounter to remain alive in the tournament while Labasa started all fresh after their clash with Ba last night was called off due to a power outage.
Experienced marksman Christopher Wasasala, Ilisoni Loloivalu and young Netani Suluka missed some early sitters for the Babasiga Lions while Abbu Zahid, Hughes and Epeli Valevou used their pace and skills well to launch attacks for Rewa.
Labasa was reduced to ten players after midfielder Akeimi Ralulu was sent off for violent conduct.
He got into a scuffle with Iosefo Verevou and retaliated. Verevou copped a yellow card for the incident.
With a player short on the field, Labasa struggled to get back into the match.
Wasasala, replacement Nemani Dolodai and midfielder Edwin Sahayam tried all they could to get the champions back into the match but some good saves by goalkeeper Mohammed Alam kept the scores intact till the final whistle.
Extra Supermarket Labasa will meet Suva in its next match at 10am tomorrow while Extra Supermarket Rewa will come up against Ba at 4pm.
Rewa– Mohammed Alam (GK), Peniame Drova, Patrick joseph, Abbu Zahid, Setareki Hughes (C), Iosefpo Verevou, Gabiriele Matanisiga, Madhwan Gounder, Tevita Waranaivalu, Epeli Valevou, Iowane Matanisiga.
Labasa– Simione Tamanisau (GK) (C), Liono Iliesa, Sitiveni Rakai, Edwin Sahayam, Ilaisa Vulimainavuso, Ilisoni Lolaivalu, Akeimi Ralulu, Luke Savu, Lekima Gonerau, Netani Suluka.