Football | SPORTS

Rewa Holds Advantage In Sunday’s Return Clash

The Marika Rodu-coached Glamada Investments Rewa football team stand a good chance of winning the OFC Champions League 2022 National Playoffs when they host Lautoka on Sunday at the ANZ Stadium, in Suva.
18 Jun 2022 11:06
Rewa Holds Advantage In Sunday’s Return Clash
Lautoka defender Atonio Tuivuna tussles for the ball against Glamada Investments Rewa striker Bruce Hughes during their first clash of the OFC Champions League 2022 National Playoffs clash at Churchill Park, Lautoka, on June 17, 2022. Photo: Fiji FA Media

The Marika Rodu-coached Glamada Investments Rewa football team stand a good chance of winning the OFC Champions League 2022 National Playoffs when they host Lautoka on Sunday at the ANZ Stadium, in Suva.

On Friday night, Rewa held hosts Lautoka 1-1 in their first encounter.  The Blues fought back from a goal-down to draw 1-1 with Rewa to keep their hopes alive 

Lautoka striker Sairusi Nalaubu secured the hard-fought turnaround for the home side after Rusiate Matarerega had previously given the visitors a 1-0 lead in a game which both sides will feel they could have won.

Lautoka were unable to call upon new signing Raymond Gunemba due to suspension, but two other recent imports did start for Anginesh Prasad’s side, Nigerian forward Usman Omede and Papua New Guinea goalkeeper Ishmael Pole making their debuts.

Barely two minutes in and the latter was swiftly called into action, making an acrobatic save to deny Rewa frontman Bruce Hughes.

It continued to be a busy debut for Lautoka’s new stopper as Rewa dominated the opening stages. Matarerega and Ivan Kumar were both denied while Gabriele Matanisiga hit the post with a near-post header.

A frantic end to the first-half saw Hughes once again come close with a stunning effort, his powerful half-volley skimming the crossbar. Moments later, his older brother Setareki Hughes also shook the Lautoka woodwork, his left-foot curling effort hitting the post.

Lautoka also took advantage of the frenzied period of play, Muni Shivan Naidu stinging the hands of Mohammed Alam in the Rewa goal and Atonio Tuivuna heading just wide from a corner but despite the numerous chances both sides went into the break goalless.

Rewa’s dominance continued in the early stages of the second-half and just shy of the hour mark the visitors got the goal their pressure merited. Setareki’s perfectly placed pass landed in the path of a marauding Matarerega, who lifted the ball past Pole to give Rewa a deserved lead.

But the Delta Tigers lost their influential captain Setareki to injury and Lautoka took full advantage of the talisman’s absence. Substitute Aporosa Yada’s cross found its way to Nalaubu in the penalty box where the Lautoka danger-man hammered home the equaliser.

Galvanised by the leveller, Lautoka went looking for a winning goal in front of their home fans and looked the more likely to score in the latter stages.

Kolinio Sivoki saw a headed effort cleared off the line before Alam made two reaction saves to keep out Naidu and Gulam Razool attempts.

The return clash on Sunday kicks off at 3pm.
Goalscorers
Lautoka FC 1 (Sairusi Nalaubu 74′)
Rewa FC 1 (Rusiate Matarerega 59′)
Halftime: Lautoka 0-0 Rewa

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