Caption: Nadi’s Samuela Drudru on attack as Navua’s Filipe Manuku works tirelessly in defense during the opening match of 2014 Vodafone Fiji Fact at Ratu Cakobau in Nausori earlier today Photo: ANUSHIL KUMAR.
By ANUSHIL KUMAR
Defending champions Shop N Save Nadi secured their first win of the tournament after beating Navua in the opening match of the 2014 Vodafone Fiji Fact at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori earlier today, June 20.
The match started on a slow pace as both teams failed to settle in soggy conditions at Ratu Cakobau Park.
Nadi’s Jone Salauneune was stretchered off the field in the first half as he was replaced by the Fiji under-20 rep Mataiasi Toma.
Chances were created for both the sides but getting the finishing was the key factor as the teams went on breather with score-line locked at 0-0.
Getting hyped-up by the coaches at the break, Nadi started second half on a high but Samuela Drudru, Napolione Qasevakatini, Amani Makoe failed to capitalize on the created opportunities.
Navua also got scoring opportunities but Nadi goalkeeper Benaminio Mateinaqara stood tall under the post.
Samuela Drudru broke the hearts of the mighty Navuans as his neatly finished goal gave Nadi a much needed three points to stay in contention for their title defense.
Nadi coach Kamal Swamy was happy with the final outcome of the game as three points is always important for any team to have a good start of a tournament.
“The first three points was very important for us to get a better start of the tournament,” said Swamy.
“I think Navua came out firing as they are always dangerous in tournaments but my boys was ble to get the goal in the later stages which made is hard for Navua to get the equalizer.”
“We will work on the disciplinary factor to avoid yellow cards as it might cost us in the later stages.” He added.
According to Navua coach Saiyad Ali, two months of no competitive level of football was their major disadvantage playing against Nadi.
“I think we had a very big disadvantage playing over Nadi because Navua did not play at competitive level for two-months and that was the factor that cost us the game,” Ali said,
“Nevertheless, I think my boys played well as they are all from Navua and all I can say is that we have a very bright future.” he mentioned.
Nadi: Benaminio Mateinaqara (c), Eliki Ravosai, Ilimotama Jese, Shafim Buksh, William Valentine, Vuniuci Tikomaimereke, Jone Salauneune,Lekima Gonerau, Amani Makoe, Napolione Qasevakatini, Samuela Drudru
Navua: Tevita Koroi, Praneel Kumar, Rohit Chand, Seveci Rokotakala, Inoke Oconnor, Sailosi Livatalo, Nasir Hussein, Vineet Chand, Rajnesh Raju, Isikeli Naula, Sheik Moshin