November 24, 2016
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Police retains football title

The Fiji Police Force retained the Ratu Sukuna Bowl football title today after holding Army to a 2-2 draw in an exciting challenge at Bidesi Park in Suva.

National rep Simione Tamanisau was the hero for the side as he netted both the goals for the Blues.

Tamanisau connected well with a Dev Raj through pass to open Police’s account midway in the first half as they led 1-0 at halftime.

Rewa rep Epeli Saukuru leveled scores for Army from a defensive blunder.

With less than ten minutes remaining, Army went ahead via a beautiful goal through Labasa rep Christopher Wasasala who raced away on the left flank and sent in a low shot past goalkeeper Akuila Mateisuva.

Tamanisau equalized for Police in the dying moments after the Army defence failed to clear a mid-air free-kick attempt from Rajesh Roshan .

The rules of the challenge states that in the event of a draw, the holder keeps the trophy, thus Police once again walked away with the title.

Police Coach and former national defender Inosi Cava said they were expecting a tough battle and the challenge today was one of the best in recent times.

“This was one of the best challenges and I thank the players of both disciplined forces for the wonderful display of football. The inclusion of district players in both teams took the standard of competition to another level and I am glad we managed to score a late equalizer which allows us to keep the trophy for another year.”

“This win is dedicated to all the officers on duty here at home and those on peacekeeping duties. This is also for all the officers, their families and all sponsors and supporters,” he said.

Army Coach Ratu Penaia Latianara said despite having more possession and chances in the second half they were not able to maintain the momentum and lapse of concentration in defence gave the match away to Police.

“The trophy could have been ours today had we defended well in the last few minutes. We were up 2-1 and just needed to keep things tight in defence but sadly we allowed them to score from a set-piece. Overall I am happy with our performance as we played very well and displayed constructive football in the challenge.”

Tamanisau also walked away with the Player of the Challenge award.

The teams:

Police- Akuila Mateisuva, Rajesh Roshan, Lasarusa Saucoko, Dev Raj, Savenaca Nakalevu, Filipe Baravilala, Simione Tamanisau (C), Vikrant Chandra, Nalinesh Reddy, Ilaisa Nayasi, Zaid Mohammed.

Army- Epeli Loaniceva, Samuela Vula (C), Kolinio Sivoki, Peniame Drova, Madhavan Goundar, Epeli Saukuru, Christopher Wasasala, Eran Edward, Melvin Reddy, Simon Prakash, Shavil Ali.

By Reginald Chandar

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