December 05, 2021
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Nand nets brace in battle of cities

Striker Merrill Nand scored two excellent goals as defending champions Suva stunned leaders Lautoka 2-1 in the feature Round 12 match of the Digicel Premier League at the ANZ Stadium today.

It took the hosts only 45 seconds to get on the scoreboard as Meli Codro sent in a deep cross after the kick-off and Nand positioned himself well to beat Sitiveni Cavuilagi and Kolinio Sivoki and place the ball past an unsettled Beniamino Mateinaqara.

The quick goal piled pressure on the Blues as they looked to settle play and launch attacks.

Lanky midfielder Malakai Rakula missed two great opportunities in front of the goal while Sairusi Nalaubu was denied by goalkeeper Jovilisi Borisi through an excellent save in the 23rd minute.

A defensive clearance in the 37th minute found Captain Christopher Wasasala in a good position and he unselfishly laid the ball into the path of Nand to calmly find the back of the net again and extend Suva's lead.

The Whites enjoyed the 2-0 lead at the break and looked more consistent  in the second half.

Coach Imdad Ali made changes to the attacking force and sent in Wilson Doedoke, Gulam Razool and Raj Pillay to keep the pressure on Suva's defence.

Goalie Borisi picked up a foot injury in the 75th minute and was replaced by Atunaisa Naucukidi.

Captain Zibraaz Sahib's well floated free-kick in injury time was tapped into the path of Doedoke by Naucukidi and the Solomon Islander made no mistake with his first time attempt to pull one back.

The result does not affect the standing but Suva has narrowed the gap.

Viti Water Flow Lautoka has 23 points after playing 11 matches while Unique Rubber Stamp Suva now has 20 points from 12 outings.

The teams:

Suva: Jovilisi Borisi (Atunaisa Naucukidi), Shahil Dave, Meli Codro, Ramzan Khan (Mohammed Shazil Ali), Merrill Nand (Iosefo Verevou), Ravinesh Karan Singh, Remueru Takiate (Alex Saniel), Filipe Baravilala, Waisake Navunigasau, Christopher Wasasala (C) (Azariah Soromon), Joeli Ranitu.

Lautoka: Beniamino Mateinaqara, Sitiveni Cavuilagi, Afraz Ali, Dave Radrigai, Zibraz Sahib (C), Kolinio Sivoki, Aaron Edward, Jared Rongosolia (Gulam Razool) (James Pillay), Muni Shivam Naidu, Sairusi Nalaubu, Malakai Rakula (Wilson Doedoke).

By Romeka Romena


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