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Proud Dad Vereti Saves Nadi

Proud Dad Vereti Saves Nadi
Nadi goalkeeper and captain Vereti Dickson (third from right), is congratulated by players after Nadi won the INNK Mobile Battle of the Giants semifinal against Lautoka on July 22, 2017. Photo: Charles Chambers
July 23
11:45 2017

Defending champions Lautoka lose 3-1 on penalty kicks to Nadi

Nadi football skipper Vereti Dickson told his wife and his third child who was born yesterday he would do his best for them.

This was before the INKK Mobile Battle of the Giants semifinal against Lautoka where he became his side’s hero.

The jetsetters will face Rewa in the final at Churchill Park at 2-3pm today.

Dickson’s three saves against defending champions Lautoka in a penalty shootout won them the game, 3-1.

“I saw my wife Vilisi Lewakeni and Junior before I left and said I would do my best – no promises.”

After a stalemate 0-0 tie at the end of extra time, the whole game was heading for the dreaded penalty kicks and at this stage it depended of who had the best scorers and who had the most confident keepers.

The whole game was lacking in any highlight except for a near scoring chance through Lautoka’s Samuela Drudru who had only Dickson to beat in the first spell and two powerful shots by Nadi striker Rusiate Matarerega in the second spell.

It seemed as if both teams had come into the game throwing all caution to the wind.

Lautoka, Vodafone Premier League leaders, were expected to produce some magic but passes at the end of good build-ups always seemed to go astray at the final gasp.

Both sides’ defence were up to par but the lack of finishing at both ends and in both spells gave little to cheer about for the 8000 fans that turned up at Churchill Park.

Lautoka brought in Siotame Kubu in the second spell to replace Drudru and the youngster added some spark up front but with the run on team slowing down, combinations were hard to come by.

Nadi had similar experiences and lacked any real threatening chances except for Matarerega’s two sizzlers which were contained by Mateinaqara.

In the penalty shootout, Sahib was Lautoka’s only scorer with misses coming from Qalica, Mateinaqara and Jone Vono Junior.

Nadi missed one through Elvin Prasad while Napolioni Qasevakatini, Ame Votoniu and Matarerega scored.

Lautoka FA president Abdul Kadar said the game had boiled down to penalty kicks and at this stage it was anyone’s game.

“We played well throughout but unfortunately we lost on penalty kicks.

“Both sides could not score at fulltime and after extra time and this shows the balance in both teams.

“I wish both Nadi and Rewa all the best.”

Nadi coach Yogendra Dutt said he just told the players to play soccer.

“I did not do anything great. I just helped the players realise their potential.

They had it in them to win and I just guided them.”

 

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback:  charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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