SPORTS

Lucky Escape

The Rakiraki football team almost caused the biggest upset in the Vodafone Premier League after they held a much experienced Lautoka side 1-1 at Churchill Park, Lautoka yesterday. The team
01 May 2017 10:56
Lucky Escape

The Rakiraki football team almost caused the biggest upset in the Vodafone Premier League after they held a much experienced Lautoka side 1-1 at Churchill Park, Lautoka yesterday.

The team from the small sugar town almost had the game in the bag as they led 1-0 until Lautoka scored the equaliser in the dying stages of the game.

Reliance on reputation and taking a casual approach angered Lautoka coach Kamal Swamy as the match almost brought a nightmare to the crowd of around 1500 that turned up to watch.

For Rakiraki, the draw was a victory for them in that they had played the defending Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants and Pillay’s Garment CvC champions on their home turf and walked away with the draw.  Coupled with this was the input of Australian national and football academy coach Sham Lal who was their technical advisor. However Rakiraki counted themselves lucky as Lautoka missed numerous sitters which could have given them a big win.

What happened: Lautoka came into the match determined to show Rakiraki their power as they dominated play.

A fumble in the 14th minute by striker Samuela Drudru saw Rakiraki turn defence into attack which resulted in nippy striker Zainal Hussein chipping the ball over Lautoka and national goalkeeper Beniamino Mateinaqara into the open goal for a 1-0 lead.

Halftime: Lautoka 0-1 Rakiraki

Lautoka began to feel the pain of not being where they wanted to be and strung passes together but to see this being wasted upfront by their strikers.

The hosts became aggressive as the game went on as they were desperate to score the equaliser.

Swamy sent in senior players Zibraaz Sahib and Peni Finau to bring some stability into their attack but again chances were wasted with missed strikes at goal.

In the 40th minute, Finau was set-up by Sahib on the right hand corner of the Rakiraki box and the veteran striker sent in a low cross that saw an unmarked Jone Vono Jnr tap the ball into the net with goalkeeper Rakiraki Saimoni Naibogi well beaten.

Lautoka tried again to score the winner but Rakiraki threw everyone into defence.

Comments: Lautoka coach Kamala Swamy said: “We missed a lot of chances as the strikers were not on target. In training I always stress that we need to be focused and the players need to be on their game right through.”

Rakiraki coach Pradeesh Gounder said:

“I told the boys when we were leading after halftime to keep going and it was just a lapse in our defence that Lautoka scored. This is indeed a proud day for everyone in Rakiraki.”

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