Caption: Suva’s Poasa Bainivalu tussles against Nadi’s Josefata Dugucagi during the Galaxy Premier League encounter at Prince Charles Park today, February 1. Photo: ANUSHIL KUMAR.
By ANUSHIL KUMAR
Defending champions Fastkil Suva side were held to a 1-all draw in its opening game against Nadi at Prince Charles Park today, February 1.
The match started on a high as Jetsetters, with Samuela Drudru and Jolame Vukivuki upfront, created early scoring opportunities, however Suva goalkeeper Emori Ragata stood tall under the sticks.
Josefata Dugucagi gave the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute through a penalty kick after youngster Vukivuki was brought down in the Suva box by goalie Ragata as referee Dina Mani did not hesitate to award Nadi a penalty kick.
The lead, however, was not for long as Dave Radrigai equalised for the Capital-City Boys after a defensive blunder by Nadi. Halftime 1-1.
The second spell became more exciting with Nadi’s Drudru, William Valentine, Ame Votuniu and debutant Ronald Dutt and Suva’s Ravinesh Karan Singh, Nickel Chand, Pita Rabo and former Nadi rep Napolione Qasevakatini looking to find the net, but excellent goalkeeping by Ragata and Vereti Dickson kept the scores intact till the final whistle.
Over 2,500 spectators enjoyed every bits of the nail-biting clash as the heat took its toll on the players which forced ref Mani to give two water breaks in each half.
Nadi assistant coach Pranesh Amarsee said the team just failed in their game plan.
“We did not stick to our game plan. I wanted them to play more possession proper, but again the heat was another factor,” Amarsee told The Jet Sport.
“For the next match, we really need to get our combinations right and definitely we need to work on our attacking side as the team lacks finishing.”
Suva coach Gurjit Singh was happy with the match outcome.
“I’m happy with a draw in our away game and playing under this hot scotching sun with a hard surface,” Singh said.
“Actually I expected a tougher encounter than what we saw and looking at the performance, we missed a lot of scoring opportunities in both half.
“Scoring is the biggest problem for us now.”
Meanwhile, in other matches played today, 4R Electric Ba hammered Rewa 4-1 at Ratu Cakobau Park while newcomers Tailevu Naitasiri held Nadroga to a 1-1 draw. In the only match played on Saturday, Labasa defeated Lautoka 2-1 in a dramatic encounter at Subrail Park in Labasa.
Nadi, after playing two matches still lead the points table with four points ahead of second placed Labasa also with four points but the goal difference separates the two side.
In round three, Lautoka will host Ba on Friday at 7.30pm while Labasa meets T/Naitasiri same time at Ratu Cakobau Park. Suva travels to Subrail Park to meet Labasa 3pm on Sunday while Nadi hosts Rewa at 2pm on Sunday.