Defender Kolinio Sivoki headed in a 75th minute winner as Navua beat Rewa 2-1 and booked its spot in the semifinals of the 2023 Inter District Championship (IDC) at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva today.
Heading into the match, Navua just needed a draw to progress while Rewa needed nothing less than a win.
Captain Setareki Hughes netted the opener for Rewa in the 43rd minute as the Delta Tigers led 1-0 at the break.
Rewa goalkeeper Epeli Loaniceva became the villain for the side after copping a direct red card and giving away a penalty in the 54th minute.
Loaniceva stamped Solomon Islander Jackson Wale and inflicted further pain on the attacker whilst he landed on the ground and this prompted referee Deepak Raj to give him his marching orders.
Rewa had to sacrifice Abbu Zahid and send in Mohammed Alam in place of Loaniceva.
Solomon Islander Jared Rongosulia made no mistake with his attempt to level the scores.
Hughes almost got Rewa’s second goal in the 71st minute from a powerful volley but goalkeeper Viliame Rakuro judged the shot well and palmed it away.
Navua applied pressure through a counter-attacking move and a Thomas Dunn in-swinger from a corner-kick set-piece was met by the waiting head of Sivoki with the ball finding the roof of the net.
Rewa threw everything into the fire in the remainder of the match but a one- man less disadvantage did not do good as Navua pushed more numbers in defence and kept the last line of defence tight.
Navua progresses to the semifinals with six points and the placing in Group B will be determined after Suva’s match against Nadi.
The starting teams:
Ajay Trading Rewa– Epeli Loaniceva, Peniame Drova, Patrick Joseph, Abbu Zahid, Setareki Hughes (C), Gabiriele Matanisiga, Madhwan Goundar, Tevita Waranaivalu, Epeli Valevou, Josaia Sela, Apivorosi Rabo.
Aldex Trading/River Tubing Fiji Navua– Viliame Rakuro, Simione Damuni, Jared Rongosulia, Thomas Dunn, Arami Manumanubai, Jackson Wale, Vinal Prasad, Kolinio Sivoki, Zainal Ali, Matthew Charitar (C), Vineet Chand.