Lautoka In Big Trouble

Blues must score big win against AS Central Sport to stand a chance of qualifying
14 Feb 2019 09:45
Lautoka In Big Trouble
Dejected Lautoka players watch as James Nawo of Henderson Eels celebrate after scoring the winning goal at the OFC Champions League clash at Churchill Park in Lautoka on February 13, 2019. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA

The Kamal Swamy coached- Lautoka FC face the danger of bowing out of the OFC Champions League after they went down 6-5 to Henderson Eels of Solomon Islands at Churchill Park, Lautoka yesterday.

Coach Kamal Swamy said his players need to do a lot of soul searching if they are to beat AS Sport Central of Tahiti on Satur­day to keep their hopes of qualify­ing alive.

“The AS Central Sport is a strong team and we need to lift our per­formance so that we can match them and try to win the game,” he said.

“Also, on the goal count we need to score as many goals as possi­ble.”

What happened: The Eels started strongly and finished off in style to earn maximum points.

Lautoka were down 1-4 at one stage in the first half but the Blues scored four- unanswered goals to lead 5-4.

The Eels looked a changed side from their 3-2 loss to AS Central Sport and the home side took them lightly for most of the first half.

Hudson Felani scored the Eels opener in the 5th minute (1-0) be­fore Bong Kalo equalised in the 23rd minute for Lautoka after be­ing set-up by Osea Vakatalesau.

Then came the worst 20 minutes of the game for the Blues when the visitors scored three goals.

Lautoka FC defender Mataiasi Toma (left) defends against Henderson Eels at Churchill Park, Lautoka on February 13, 2019. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Lautoka FC defender Mataiasi Toma (left) defends against Henderson Eels at Churchill Park, Lautoka on February 13, 2019. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Daniel Allan scored an own goal in the 28th minute before Raynick Laeta took advantage of a defen­sive blunder by Poasa Bainivalu in the 30th minute. James Nawo scored his first goal to make it 4-1 in the 34th minute.

Adding to Lautoka woes was when Zibraaz Saheb missed from the penalty spot in the 42nd minute.

Vakatalesau pulled one back to make it 4-2 in the 42nd minute.

Then Samuela Drudru got his name on the scoresheet after Eels goalkeeper Desmond Tutu’s clear­ance came off him, two minutes into injury time of the first half.

Halftime: Lautoka 3-4 Eels.

Lautoka sent in fresh legs with Benjamin Totori replacing Jone Vesikula and Afraaz Ali coming in for Kalo.

Drudru scored his second to make it 4-4 from a Kavaia Raw­aqa cross before the home fans thought that Kolinio Sivoki had scored the winner to make it 5-4 in the 63rd minute.

The Eels absorbed the pressure and responded in style scoring two late goals through Clement Bae­geni and Nawo to steal the match.

Comments: Lautoka coach Swamy said, “We slacked down in the last 20 minutes, which is every impor­tant.

“Our defence was shattered and we’ve to work on those lines.

“I think we were not settled when they started scoring but it was good to see that we came back.

“Unfortunately we lost in the fi­nal minute.”

Henderson Eels coach Eddie Mara­hare said: “It was a very important game for us,

“I think after we lost the first game we really worked on our mistakes, but that’s why we scored early today.”

Other result: AS Sport Central 7-0 FC Morobe Wawens.

 Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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