Football | SPORTS

Labasa Edge Suva

Labasa made a strong come back in a week against Nadi on their home ground when they beat Suva 2-1 in the Digicel Premier League on Saturday at Subrail Park.
22 Aug 2022 14:41
Labasa Edge Suva
Ratu Apenisa Anare of Labasa controls possession against Suva in their Digicel Premier League 2 – 1 win at Subrail Park, Labasa on August 20, 2022. Photo: Shratika Naidu

Labasa made a strong come back in a week against Nadi on their home ground when they beat Suva 2-1 in the Digicel Premier League on Saturday at Subrail Park.

The secret to their success was the players who were mentally prepared. Not wasting time Ilisoni Lolaivalu scored in the third min­ute of play.

A minute later Christopher Wasasala sent the ball to the back of the net for an early 2-0 Labasa lead.

It was a match that had more than its share of stoppages with referee Ajinesh Chand flashing the yellow card to caution players numerous times.

As momentum built in the second half Labasa coach Ravneel Pratap and his Suva counterpart Babs Khan switched players to ease the situation.


Lino Iliesa was shown the yellow card most times not only for foul play but also for interfering the ref­eree’s decisions.

Iliesa ignored the referee’s deci­sion for his infringement against Suva player Meli Lodro twice.

After failing to take the referee’s stand, Iliesa was given the red card.

An argument erupted when Laba­sa team manager Ravinesh Chand ran to the field with president Rayaz Khan following him.

Police officers at Subrail Park con­trolled the situation by standing around the four referees to shield them.

Chand was then flashed the red card by the referee before he was escorted through the exit gate.

In the 77th minute Suva’s Waisake Navunigasau scored the capital city’s lone goal.

In the dying minute Azariah So­romon clashed with Labasa goal keeper; when the referee sum­moned him he refused to move where the referee was standing.

Referee Chand sent him off the field after showing him the red card.


Coaches’ reaction

Labasa president Khan refused to comment when he was approached after the match.

Coach Pratap said the referees need to take the blame.

“There has been lot of comments by the people and coaches, nothing has been done,” Pratap said.

“I am requesting the people in charge to look into this as it affects efforts to improve the standard of football in Fiji,” he said.

“For the Labasa team this has been happening a lot whether they travel to other town or they play in their home ground.

“Players have the right to ques­tion the referee and they need to give answers. But for my players when they ask questions they are shown the cards.”


BOG preparation

Meanwhile, Labasa defender, Il­iesa would miss the first BOG tour­nament this week.

Pratap said this was a great loss to the team and to find a replacement within short time difficult.

However, Pratap said he would re­tain the same team for the BOG as­signment that kicks off on Wednes­day in Lautoka.


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