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Lautoka To Host Marist FC

Lautoka To Host Marist FC
Lautoka defender Brian Kaltack heads in the winning goal against AS Dragon in the OFC Champions League quarterfinal on April 8, 2018. Photo: OFC Media Photo: Zimbio
April 10
10:42 2018

The Lautoka football side have secured a home match against Marist FC in the Oceania Football Confederations (OFC) Champions League semifinal clash set for the weekend of April 21-22.

This was confirmed by OFC Media yesterday indicating the dates will soon be finalised. On that same weekend Auckland City FC will host Team Wellington in an all New Zealand semifinal.

 

MISSED CHANCES

A late header from Lautoka defender Brian Kaltack was the difference as they became the first Fijian side to feature in the semifinals since 2015 after beating AS Dragon 2-1.

“I think we could have scored more goals if we were on target,” Lautoka coach Kamal Swamy said.

“We rushed a lot and I think we created a lot of chances. “Nothing can be taken away from the Dragon, they are a great team and played well. “They knew what they were doing and had a game plan but for us now, we’ve started to move forward.

“We’ll see what we can do in the semifinals.”

Dragon won possession early and made the most of having veteran Marama Vahirua back in action following an injury. The former Ligue 1 midfielder controlled the game for his side with a lot of the action directed through him.

Lautoka were relying on the skills of competition’s leading goal scorer Benji Totori as their point man up front and he didn’t disappoint with a number of excellent effort from a distance that were denied by the woodwork.

And it was the veteran who set up 23-year-old Praneel Naidu who opened the scoring when he poked the cross from Totori between goalkeeper Gilbert Meriel and his back post in the 27th minute.

 

FAST PACE

The pace of the Fijians continued to cause problems for Dragon but Meriel was in great form putting up some excellent saves to deny Totori and Osea Vakatalesau. Dragon applied pressure and it paid off when they were awarded a freekick 30 metres from goal which was taken by Vahirua.

A perfectly weighted delivery was met by captain Tamatoa Tetauira who got his head to the ball to knock it out of Beniamino Mateinaqara’s reach. It was almost a double in quick succession when the pair once again combined but Lautoka were up to deny them and hold the score at 1-1 going into the break.

Dragon got the second half underway with an impressive 35m long range shot from Tetauira but it did little to challenge their opponents. Lautoka missed several scoring opportunities of their own with both Totori and Vakatalesau denied.

 

WATCH LAUTOKA

With extra time looming it was Lautoka’s two foreign exports who combined to put the match to bed as Brian Kaltack met a corner from Cory Chettleburgh in the 89th minute to secure victory for the visitors.

For Dragon, the journey may be over but after a promising campaign Timiona Asen is already looking to the future.

Dragon coach Timiona Asen said, “Lautoka is an opponent that can go far. For us the objective is to come back to this competition and if we do come back it will be totally different.”

 

– Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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