July 28, 2018
Suva has booked its spot in the grand final of the 2018 INKK Mobile Battle Of Giants (BOG) after beating Labasa 1-0 in extra time of their semifinal clash at Churchill Park in Lautoka today.
Striker Savenaca Nakalevu netted the winner for the Gurjit Singh coached side in the 107th minute as both teams failed to score in normal time and first spell of extra time.
The sides entered the match with a lot of focus and determination.
Cautious play and some tight defending from both teams saw them rest goal-less at halftime with Labasa pulling out top striker Christopher Wasasala just before the break and replacing him with Thomas Steiner.
The momentum of the game picked up in the second half as the teams started to build play from midfield and launch attacks.
A knee injury saw Suva replace top defender Waisake Navunigasau midway in the second half. And the Whites also lost sweeper Remueru Tekiate later in the match through an ankle injury.
Lekima Gonerau had the best chance of the game in the 67th minute as he made a beautiful run on the left flank and took a powerful shot, only to be denied by the post.
Suva on the other hand was denied in the 78th minute by goalkeeper Akuila Mateisuva who brilliantly blocked a Bruce Hughes attempt by putting his body on the line.
With no goals scored in normal time and the first spell of extra time, Suva went all attacking from the start of the second spell and managed to find Hughes in the clear who neatly laid the ball into Nakalevu’s path to snatch the winner.
Suva will face the winner of the second semifinal (Ba vs Nadi) in the final at 3pm tomorrow.
Lincoln Refrigeration Labasa- Akuila Mateisuva, Antonio Tuivuna, Iliesa Lino, Ilisoni Loloivalu, Lekima Gonerau, Taniela Waqa (C), Ilisoni Logaivou, Ilaisa Nayasi (Vikranth Chandra), Edwin Sahayam, Christopher Wasasala (Thomas Steiner), Ashnil Raju (Sitiveni Rakai).
Professional Valuation Suva- Simione Tamanisau, Remueru Tekiate (Tomasi Uculoa), Epeli Leiroti, Sakaraia Naisua, Waisake Navunigasau (Aaron Edward), Filipe Baravilala, Kelvin Naidu (Simione Damuni), Shahil Dave, Bruce Hughes, Savenaca Nakalevu (Emori Ragata), Ravinesh Karan Singh (C).
By Reginald Chandar