Lau­toka fi­nally win B.O.G. tour­ney af­ter 31 years

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - Photo: Paulini Rat­u­lailai.

Lau­toka ec­static yes­ter­day af­ter beat­ing Labasa 2-0 in the fi­nal of the 2016 INKK Mo­bile Bat­tle of the Gi­ants tour­na­ment at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nau­sori. This vic­tory marks a sig­nif­i­cant win for Lau­toka since it is the first time in 31 years that they have won the pres­ti­gious tro­phy.

Lau­toka lifted the INKK Mo­bile Bat­tle of the Gi­ants (B.O.G) tour­na­ment ti­tle af­ter 31 years, de­feat­ing Labasa 2-0 in ex­tra time at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nau­sori yes­ter­day.

What hap­pened: Lau­toka striker Mo­hammed Ali and Cyrus Singh scored in the 101st and 113th min­utes of ex­tra time. Play­ing without two key play­ers cap­tain Peni Finau and Ilaitia Tuilau due to red card and in­juries, the Blues were on fire. Ali who will turn 21 next month was the un­sung hero for the Blues and played an out­stand­ing game.

Af­ter 90-min­utes of en­ter­tain­ing foot­ball, Lau­toka came back fir­ing in the first spell of ex­tra time and cre­ated havoc in the Labasa de­fence.

Half time: Lau­toka 0-0Labasa. Both sides had chances to score but their at­tempts were off tar­get.

Labasa’s lethal strike force of Il­lisoni Lo­laivalu, Christo­pher Wasasala, Gabrieli Matanisiga, Ravi­nesh Singh had their chances but they were de­nied by goalie Senirusi Bokini.

Ex­tra time: Mo­hammed Ali was beau­ti­fully set up in­side the box in the 101st minute and never missed. In the 113th minute, Singh scored sec­ond goal, beat­ing Labasa goal­keeper Akuila Mateisuva.

Big Play: Mo­hammed Ali and Singh played cru­cial roles up­front.

Star Turn: Ali is the ris­ing star for the fu­ture.

Com­ments: Lau­toka coach Agi­nesh Prasad;

“It’s a his­toric vic­tory as we have to wait for so long to win. We want to cel­e­brate this vic­tory, this is our year. Lau­toka goal scorer Mo­hammed Ali ded­i­cated the win to his fa­ther. “I wish my dad watched the game but he called me in the morn­ing and wished me all the best.

“This is the best Fa­ther’s Day gift and I’m re­ally proud to win the tour­na­ment for my dad and peo­ple of Lau­toka af­ter so many years,”Ali said. Lau­toka head coach Ka­mal Swamy said this was the great­est vic­tory for him as a coach. Swamy was ap­pointed the head coach of Lau­toka this year but had to leave for a heart surgery two weeks prior to the tour­na­ment. Swamy re­turned last week and joined the camp for the Blues pre­par­ing for the semi­fi­nals. “I had to leave the team prior to the start of the B.O.G for my surgery and I’m so proud of the play­ers,”Swamy said. The Vodafone Pre­mier League lead­ers re­ceived $15000 while Labasa re­turned to Babasiga $5000 richer. Mean­while,Labasa’s Gabrieli Matanisiga and Ravi­nesh Karan Singh won the Golden Boot Awards while Lau­toka’s Zi­braaz Sahid re­ceived the Golden Ball Award for their out­stand­ing play. Edited by Osea Bola

Photo: Paulini Rat­u­lailai

Ac­tion from the INKK Mo­bile B.O.G fi­nal be­tween Lau­toka and Labasa at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nau­sori, yes­ter­day.

Photo: Paulini Rat­u­lailai

Lau­toka ca­p­atin and goal­keeper Senirusi Bokini cel­e­brate af­ter they de­feated Labasa in ex­tra time yes­ter­day.

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