Caption: Nadi’s Samuela Drudru in action getting the late equaliser as Suva goalkeeper Uluaiasi Tamanisau looks the ball into the net. Photo: ANUSHIL KUMAR.
By ANUSHIL KUMAR
Sensational striker Samuela Drudru showed his worth for Shop N Save Nadi in the dying stages to help his side hold All Freight Logistics Suva 1-1 in a mouth-watering pool A clash of the 2014 Courts Inter-District Championship at ANZ Stadium in Suva earlier tonight, October 9.
As expected, the match started on a high as both teams applied early pressure with Samuela Drudru, Josefata Dugucagi and Shafim Buksh missing sitters for Nadi while Ravinesh Karan Singh, Inia Boko and Nickel Chand failed to capitalize for the Suva side.
Lapse of concentration by the defenders in green in the 21st minute saw an unmarked Capital City debutant and former Nadi rep Napolione Qasevakatini who came in with a pile driver which gave the diving goalie Benaminio Mateinaqara no chance at all as Suva led 1-0 at the breather.
Second half became more exciting as Nadi mentor Kamal Swamy made few tactical changes sending in Ratu Veresa Toma, Semesa Muadonu and Vineel Naidu in place of Josefata Dugucagi, William Valentine and Vuniuci Tikomaimereke.
Former Suva rep Samuela Drudru broke the hearts of the mighty home fans in the 94th minute taking advantage of the Veresa Toma’s deflected shot which landed on his awaiting foot for which he did not hesitate to score past beaten Ulaiasi Tamanisau getting the much needed equalizer in the latter part of the game.
Nadi coach Kamal Swamy was happy with the performance and said his boys always believed in playing till the final whistle.
“We can say that Nadi plays till the last minute which was again proven today and I think even in the injury time the boys did not lose hope,” Swamy said.
“We were unlucky that we gave away a goal to Suva which was a wrong pass and so the boys said in the change room during the half time that we will cover for it which they did and I think it’s a positive sign for us going into this tournament.” he added.
Suva coach Gurjit Singh was happy with the result however he said a win would have been much better.
“Conceding a goal in the last minute shouldn’t have happened, anyway a draw is not bad as we have a game in hand,” Singh mentioned.
“I know Nadi is a good team with two national coaches with them, we wanted to score early goal which we did and with few more scoring chances we failed to capitalize.
Suva plays Tailevu Naitasiri at 3pm tomorrow while Nadi battles Labasa in another exciting battle at 7pm to round up the pool plays tomorrow at ANZ Stadium.