Football

Suva Chase After O-League Spot

The top two teams from the Vodafone Premier League will book spots in the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League.
19 Aug 2019 12:51
Suva Chase After O-League Spot
Lautoka goalkeeper Beniamino Mateinaqara watches helplessly as Suva’s Christopher Wasasala (10) scores their first goal in the Vodafone Premier League clash at the Uprising Resort ground in Pacific Harbour on August 18, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Suva coach Kamal Swamy wants his team to be more clinical in front of goal despite beating Lautoka 2-1 in the Vodafone Premier League clash at the Uprising Resort ground at Pacific Harbour yesterday.

The win saw Suva move to the third spot of the Vodafone Premier League points table as they close in on Lautoka while Ba is at the top.

The top two teams from the Vodafone Premier League will book spots in the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League.

The match seemed to be heading for a draw after a Christopher Wasasala’s first-half goal was cancelled out by Lautoka’s Jone Vono Junior.

But Suva substitute Ivan Kumar scored the winner nine minutes from time with a low finish from close-range to hand the Southerners all three points.

“We were trying to hit them on the counter knowing they would push forward after conceding, but poor decision making let us down,” Swamy said.

“The problem is we also conceded a goal which was alarming because the team went down after taking the lead so we have to work on that.”

Lautoka coach Anginesh Prasad rued his team’s chances.

“It’s a tough loss to swallow because we had so many chances to score, but could not capitalise. That was the only weakness in our game – finishing.”

What happened:

The last time these two met was in the semi-finals of the INKK Mobile Battle of the Giants, where the Westerners claimed a resounding 4-1 win.

But this was a different Suva side, knowing that a win would push them right back into contention for OFC Champions League qualifications.

Lautoka enjoyed more possession throughout the 90 minutes but did little with it as Suva set-up to frustrate the Westerners after going ahead in the first-half.

Suva looked dangerous on the counter attack, with the runs of Wasasala and Gagame Feni causing problems for Lautoka’s new centre back pairing of Zainal Ali and Epeli Rokotuva.

Suva went ahead through Wasasala in the 38th minute but conceded in the 71st after lapse of concentration allowed veteran Vono Jnr to capitalise from point blank range.

But the drama was far from over as the Capital City side pushed for the winner.

Suva’s Iosefo Verevou, although starved of possession, was vocal in midfield and at one point reprimanded the forwards for not showing enough urgency.

That seemed to spring the Solomon Islander into action, providing the match-winning assist for replacement Kumar to finish from close range.

Drudru could have drawn Lautoka level in the 86th minute, but his driven shot was expertly saved by a diving Simione Tamanisau.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedbacksheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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