Labasa kick started its campaign in the inaugural 2023 Rooster Chicken/Scoop Ice Cream Women’s Battle of the Giants with a 2-0 win over Nadi at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva today.
The star-studded Babasiga Lioness led by national Skipper Sofi Diyalowai played with a lot of focus and determination and dominated over a young Nadi outfit in both halves of the game.
Veteran midfielder Stella Naivalulevu had the best chance of the opening few minutes but her attempt was daringly saved by Remivani Verau.
Nadi’s Suliana Vuniyawayawa, Farisha Ali and Monika Liku tested Labasa goalkeeper Adi Ateca Tuwai but failed to convert their chances into goals.
A tactical change in the 30th minute saw Adi Elizabeta Vulitikoro replace Laite Matebalavu to add more depth in the midfield area.
Kula Girls and former Ba defender Aliza Hussein opened the account for Labasa after perfectly securing a long cross from Sonia Alfred and riffled the ball into the net in the 35th minute finding goalkeeper Verau off guard.
Soon after, a tirade of attacks on goal saw Fijiana 7s Olympic Bronze medalist Viniana Riwai’s shot scream off the cross-bar.
Labasa led 1-0 at the breather.
The second half did not produce much as both teams dropped the tempo of their game.
Nadi coach Amina Bi rang in three consecutive changes, sending in Aanisi Damosi, Vutaeli Rosowaqa and Vilisi Rinabuto in place of Karalaini Lowa, Vasenia Cama and Adi Mea Naiveli to add more fire-play to their midfield and strike force.
Experienced Vula Bilitaki had a fine chance to double Labasa’s lead finishing off a Naivalulevu infield pass but she blasted the ball over the crossbar in the 64th minute.
A few minutes later, experienced forward Shayal Sindhika netted the second goal for the Northerners after connecting well with a through pass from Diyalowai.
Labasa FC: Adi Ateca Tuwai (GK), Fulori Sukulu, Laite Matebalavu (Adi Elizabta Vulitikoro), Vula Bilitaki, Shayal Sindhika, Filomena Racea, Viniana Riwai, Sonia Alfred, Aliza Hussein, Stella Naivalulevu, Sofi Diyalowai (C).
Subs: Ema Mareia, Peteresia Nause, Rachael Matawaqa, Adi Raijeli Mateni, Jotivini Tabua, Matelita Vuakoso, Nazina Naaz Begum.
Nadi FC: Remivani Verau (GK), Suliana Vuniyawayawa, Farisha Ali, Monika Liku, Anatoki Udite, Repeka Tabua, Karalaini Lowa, Vasenia Cama, Adi Mea Naiveli, Sereana Saukuru, Julianne Smith.
Subs: Shristy Marama, Aanisi Damosi, Vutaeli Rosowaqa, Vilisi Rinabuto, Rehana Chand, Livia Taliga, Anaseini Salobo, Venaisi Vodo.