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Coach Nathan Shivam: Don’t Count Out Nasinu

This was a victory earned through sheer grit and determination, two qualities Labasa seem to lacked.
12 Feb 2019 11:40
Coach Nathan Shivam: Don’t Count Out Nasinu
Labasa's Dunstan Quanafia tussles with Usaia Tadu during the Vodafone Premiere League in Suva on February 10, 2019.

Nathan Shivam is confident his team will cause more upsets this season after Nasinu stunned Labasa with a 2-0 win at the ANZ stadium in Suva yesterday.

A second-half Manasa Levaci penalty and a well-taken strike by Jone Naraba helped the underdogs secure a memorable three points at home.

This was a victory earned through sheer grit and determination, two qualities Labasa seem to lacked.

Labasa coach Anand Sami said the loss was partly down to his team’s lack of fitness and players not following instructions.

The northerners were without target man Napolioni Qasevakatini after his injury in their 1-0 win over Rewa last week.

That blunted Labasa’s attack, with forwards Ashnil Raju dropping deep in midfield too often and Dennis Ifunaoa offering little as Qasevakatini’s replacement.

Raju is one of Labasa’s best attacking players, but you get the sense Sami isn’t quite sure what his best position is.

The coach retained the same back four that held the line against Rewa – Iliesa Lino, Antonio Tuivuna, Joachim Waroi and Lekima Gonerau.

Labasa had a chance to take the lead on the stroke of half-time from a weak Nasinu free kick.

The northerners launched a quick counter attack through Ravinesh Karan Singh, who threaded in a brilliant pass for Ifunaoa but the Solomon Islander was denied by Nasinu goalkeeper Alzaar Alam.

Labasa’s attackers continued to frustrate in the second half, allowing Nasinu to push forward with newfound confidence.

Raju missed a glorious opportunity in the 49th minute after a long pass from Gonerau freed him with just the keeper to beat.

Nasinu’s Nasoni Mereke hit the bar two minutes later after some neat midfield play between Luke Savu and Joseph Mishra.

Nasinu coach Nathan Shivam cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines, as his team launched attack after attack but struggled to crack an average Labasa defense.

Nasinu again hit the bar in the 72nd minute as the Labasa defense continued to play under pressure, largely because of their misfiring attackers.

Leone Damudamu was a commanding figure at the back for Nasinu, keeping the Labasa attack at bay with some aggresive defending.

Despite the win, coach Shivam was unhappy with some of the refereeing decisions.

COMMENTS

He said: “They should appoint referees fairly. It doesn’t mean that we are Nasinu they appoint a new referee.

“Nonetheless, it was morale boosting victory and it bodes well for the new season.”

Labasa coach Anand Sami said: “My team didn’t follow the game plan and were too slow off the blocks and Nasinu punished us.

“Great victory for them but we missed Qasevakatini’s aggression up front. Ill be paying more attention to our attack in training this week.”

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj


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