Labasa stays in contention for a semifinal spot in the 2022 Extra Supermarket Futsal Inter District Championship (IDC) after beating Tavua 9-5 in its third and final group match at the Vodafone Arena in Suva today.
Tavua defender Tomasi Biautubu got the scoreboard ticking with just three minutes gone following up a first attempt by captain Ratu Dau to score.
The lead was short lived as a settled Labasa attack finally clicked to equalise through Amen Prasad in the sixth minute.
After yesterday’s loss to Suva, the Babasiga Lions intent was clear as they pressed the Tavuans to seal them in their own half.
The Tavua defence held firm until the 14th minute, when a setpiece corner kick found Mohammed Zaid unmarked to slot the goal.
Tavua’s Sikeli Sagatoro was flashed a yellow card after a badly timed tackle sent Lions skipper Edwin Sahayam flying.
Sahayam got the revenge of his own by scoring the next goal for Labasa with just over four minutes to play in the first half.
Labasa went to the break in front 3-1.
Tavua started the second half as they started the first with a goal to Abhishay Kumar with just over a minute gone.
Added pressure mounted for Labasa when Tavua captain Dau equalised in the 24 minute, throwing the game wide open.
Kumar added his second goal a minute later shell-shocking the Labasa fans in the stands as the men in gold retook the lead.
Luckily, Lions top goal-scorer Ashnil Raju bought the arena back to room temperature soon after with a goal to bring things level once more with 12 minutes left in the game.
A change of guard yet again allowed Biautubu to nail a powerful left foot drive to put them back up 5-4.
Captain courageous Sahayam dug deep and came through to score his second to level the game at 5-5 with 10 minutes left.
Tensions began to flare on both sides as earlier offender Sahayam was caught on the wrong side by a tackle from Tavua back Vinay Naidu who was also shown a yellow.
Labasa scraped back in front with five minutes to go when a cross from Raju found a lingering Amen Prasad at point blank range to score the side’s six goal and get in front.
Shivam Shandil gave the red and white some needed breathing space with two successive goals as the Tavuans now slowed.
An own goal to Tavua further established Labasa’s lead, and with two minutes left, a comeback was unlikely.
Labasa will await the result between Nadi Futsal and Tailevu Naitasiri Futsal to know its fate.
Tavua– Nalesoni Ravato, Abhishay Kumar, Tomasi Biaukubu, Ratu Dau, Ravnit Chand Substitutions: Shavneel Kumar, Vinay Naidu, Pradip Singh, Sikeli Sagatoro, , Avishiek Krishna, Avikash Krishna, Mohammed Shamil Sadiq, Petaia Junior.
Labasa– Sumit Chand, Edwin Sahayam, Amen Prasad, Mohammed Zaid, Ashnil Raju Substitutions: Prashant Prasad, Devneet Prasad, Shahzaib Aziz, Shainal Lal, Rajiv Sharma, Sonal Prasad, Eparama Moraica, Shivam Shandil.