Monday, March 4, 2024
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First leg of qualifier ends in a stalemate

The first leg of the OFC Champions League qualifier between Lautoka and Rewa ended in a goalless draw at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori today.

Despite giving their all in an evenly match encounter, both teams failed to find the winner as goalkeepers Beniamino Mateinaqara and Isikeli Sevanaia worked overtime to keep a clean slate.

Sitiveni Cavuilagi 1

The Blues with Edwin Sahayam in their starting lineup, looked sharp on attack and had some early misses while New Zealand based veteran Samuela Kautoga started upfront for the hosts and set up some good through passes to his fellow mate James Hoyt.

Sairusi Nalaubu, Saula Waqa and Sitiveni Cavuilagi’s attempts were all saved beautifully by Sevanaia while youngster Asivorosi Rabo, Hoyt and Setareki Hughes missed good chances for Rewa.

Saula Waqa 1

Lautoka replaced its Captain Zibraaz Sahib at the commencement of the second half with youngster Sterling Vasconcellos.

Both teams lifted the momentum in the second half and the fiery contest also saw match referee Neeshil Varman flash the yellow card multiple times.

Lautoka’s Waqa, Sahayam, Cavuilagi and Antonio Tuivuna got into the referee’s books while Iosefo Verevou, Iowane Matanisiga and Kautoga were booked for Rewa.

Rewa’s replacement strikers Epeli Valevou and Josaia Sela missed two golden scoring chances in the last five minutes of the match.

Sairusi Nalaubu 1

Valevou neatly lifted the ball over goalkeeper Mateinaqara, only to see his attempt hit the post and eventually get cleared by Kishan Sami in the 41st minute while Sela had the keeper beaten but placed the ball inches away from the left post.

The teams head to the second and final leg of the playoff in Lautoka on Sunday, all even, and with more motivation to improve and earn a chance to represent the country in the OFC Champions League in Tahiti in May.

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

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