July 20, 2018
Stylish striker Sairusi Nalaubu scored a goal in each half to guide defending champion Rewa to a 2-1 win over Suva in the opening match of the 2018 INKK Mobile Battle Of Giants (BOG) at Churchill Park in Lautoka today.
While Nalaubu starred upfront, it was 19-year-old goalkeeper Apete Ravudolo who stole the show for the Delta Tigers as he made some daring saves in both spells on debu.
Suva made a good start and launched some early attacks but a defensive mistake in the 23rd minute on the left hand edge of the box saw Nalaubu steal the ball away and slam it into the roof of the net giving goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau no chance at all.
Rewa led 1-0 at the break and after some near misses at goal from both sides; left back Josateki Tamudu broke away in the 73rd minute and unselfishly placed the ball into the path of Nalaubu who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net.
Suva managed to pull one back just before fulltime through Solomon Islands import Fred Osifelo who went on as a late replacement.
Rewa Coach Lorima Dau was ecstatic with the win and said his players played with sheer determination and full focus.
“I feel so marvelous and happy with our performance today. This young brigade played like champions and I take my hats off to the players.”
“We did not panic and played with a lot of confidence against a very experienced Suva side. This was the start we were after and after a long nap and rest tonight, we will shift our focus to the next game against Nadi tomorrow.”
Suva Coach Gurjit Singh said finishing was again a let-down for them.
“We had so many chances but you cannot win a game if you don’t score. We had our fair share of possession and opportunities but the boys just could not score.”
“The loss makes it hard for us now as we only have 2 more matches to play. We will try to regroup and do better in the remaining matches,” he said.
Rewa plays Nadi in its next match at 4pm tomorrow while Suva comes up against Dreketi at 12pm.
Professional Valuation Suva- Simione Tamanisau, Remueru Tekiate, Kelvin Naidu, Kaliova Tivulu (Fred Osifelo), Bruce Hughes (Epeli Leiroti), Savenaca Nakalevu, Ravinesh Karan Singh (C), Sakaraia Naisua, Waisake Navunigasau, Shahil Dave, Filipe Baravilala.
Rewa- Apete Ravudolo, Peniame Drova, Josateki Tamudu, Vuniuci Tikomaimereke, Sairusi Nalaubu (Epeli Valevou), Iosefo Verevou, Epeli Saukuru (C) (Abishek Deo), Taione Kerevanua, Posiano Kalisito, Siotame Kubu, Martin Nasova.
Referee: Amitesh Behari
By Reginald Chandar