SPORTS

Sami Wants More From Labasa

This Labasa team, however, is slowly starting to adapt to Sami’s attacking philosophy and should be a force this season. The northerners were fitter, faster an hungrier than their southern opponents, but failed to make more of their chances or capitalise on Rewa’s lethargy.
04 Feb 2019 11:32
Sami Wants More From Labasa

Labasa coach Anand Sami wants to see more from his team, despite their 1-0 win over Rewa in the Vodafone Premier League at Ratu Cakobau Park yesterday.

For Rewa, the loss meant interim coach Nigel Khan’s chances of securing the job permanently took a hit.

The lone goal came as early as the 12th minute when Labasa’s Ashnil Raju easily sped past a hefty-looking Peniame Drova to set up Napolioni Qasevakatini.

Qasevakatini, fresh off his transfer from Suva last month, got in between three Rewa defenders to score an easy goal.

Akuila Mataisuva was controversially red carded in the 44th minute after handling outside his penalty box.

The ball seemed to be going out of play so there were question marks over whether Mataisuva denied a clear goal scoring opportunity, and if the card should have stood.

The sending off failed to spark a Rewa revival and the match remained relatively equal, despite Labasa playing a full half with 10-men.

This Labasa team, however, is slowly starting to adapt to Sami’s attacking philosophy and should be a force this season.

Their midfield was the perfect example.

Rewa had no answer to Labasa’s crisp passing in midfield, as Ravinesh Karan Singh, in a deeper role, combined excellently with Raju and Siotame Kubu.

The northerners were fitter, faster an hungrier than their southern opponents, but failed to make more of their chances or capitalise on Rewa’s lethargy.

Although that intensity faded as the first half drew to a close, Rewa’s lack of quality meant Labasa were let off the hook.

Coach Khan was brought in to steady the ship after a dismal VPL campaign for Rewa last season.

Two matches into his reign as head coach of the senior team, Khan only boasts a narrow 1-0 win against Nasinu on his CV.

His team were slow and lacking creativity, despite having forwards Bruce and Setareki Hughes and Gabrieli Matanasiga playing up front.

It was much of the same in the second half, although Hughes did test substitute Labasa goalkeeper Asaeli Batikasa with a driven shot from outside the box.

Labasa’s win has secured them four points from their first two games, while Rewa sits on three points.

 

COMMENTS

Labasa’s Anand Sami said: “The conditions were difficult but my team did well even after losing a player.

“The rugby line outside the penalty box made it hard for Mataisuva  to see the edge of the penalty box and that’s why he handled the ball.

“But I still want to see my team play quicker football and keep possession better but that will come as we progress through the season.”

-Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback:  sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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