Nadi into semis, sends Labasa packing

Caption: Shop N Save Nadi captain Eliki Ravosai tries an attempt at the Labasa goal during their final pool encounter at ANZ Stadium in Suva. Photo: ANUSHIL KUMAR.

By ANUSHIL KUMAR

The Shop N Save Nadi is the second team to qualify from pool A along with hosts All Freight Logistics Suva.

This was confirmed after the Jetsetters defeated Dalip Chand Buses Labasa 2-0 to confirm their semi-final spot sending the Babasiga Lions out of the tournament.

The match, which was promised to be a nail-biting encounter, did not lived up to expectations because of a heavy down-pour experienced at Laucala Bay as most of the players failed to stick to the game plan.

Nadi took the lead midway into the first half as Labasa goalie Epeli Loaniceva?s blunder allowed youngster Mataiasi Toma to sneak-in and give the Green Machine a 1-0 lead at half time.

Labasa, with likes of Joseph Mishra, Maciu Dunadamu and Pita Bolaitoga upfront, failed to? capitalize on the created opportunities as Nadi defenders Eliki Ravosai and Ilimotama Jese kept their ways clear while goalkeeper Benaminio Mateinaqara showed his magical touches and made some deadly saves.

Sensational striker Samuela Drudru doubled Nadi?s advantage with just 50 seconds into the second half as once again it was Loaniceva?s blunder in the slippery conditions which allowed the former Suva rep to add his name to the score-sheet.

The Kamal Swamy coached side introduced Ratu Veresa Toma and Jolame Vukivuki in the latter stages of the game to rest the duo strikers Drudru and Cugucagi for the semi-finals tomorrow.

Labasa, with nothing to lose, tried all tactics to come-back into the game but the Bal Sarju Reddy coached side failed to utilize the scoring opportunities which mattered the most as Nadi came out victors ending the group stages being the runners-up.

Nadi plays Nadroga in the second semi-final at 6pm tomorrow.