Good days ahead: Suva coach

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - RITESH KU­MAR Edited by Leone Cabenatabua Feed­back: leonec@fi­

Suva foot­ball cap­tain Setareki Hughes scored the goal that mat­tered the most as they edged out Rewa 3-2 in the open­ing round of the 2018 Voda­fone Premier League clash at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nau­sori yes­ter­day. The match played on a wet and slip­pery ground con­di­tions did not de­ter the Cap­i­tal City side as they played bril­liantly and held on to win de­spite a late surge by Rewa to equalise.

The win has placed Suva in a better po­si­tion as they aim to do better this year What hap­pened: The match kicked off on a slow mode as both sides were cau­tious of each other, know­ing that any mis­take could be costly.

Rewa fielded a full strength side led by the likes of striker Iosefo Verevou, Posiano Kal­isito and Taione Kere­vanua while Suva had ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers of Hughes, high young brother Bruce and Ravi­nesh Karan Singh.

In the 17th minute, Rewa’s de­fend­ers were caught nap­ping and Bruce Hughes cap­i­talised on it to score the open­ing goal as Suva led 1-0.

The vis­i­tors be­gan to pile on the pres­sure and an­other mis­take from the Rewa de­fend­ers in the 39th minute saw Kaliova Tivulu ex­tended Suva’s lead to 2-0. This woke up the hosts as Jone­tani Buksh nar­rowed the deficit with a goal in the 46th minute.

Half­time: Suva 2-1 Rewa. Rewa started strongly in the sec­ond spell as they bom­barded the Suva goal­mouth but were un­able to score.

But in a counter at­tack­ing move Suva in­creased their lead when Hughes scored their third goal from a long range at­tempt giv­ing Rewa goal­keeper Simione Ta­man­isau no chance at all.

The Delta Tigers man­aged to pull one back in the 87th minute through a Te­vita Warani­valu stun­ner.

Big play: Suva de­fend­ers played their hearts out to hold back the Rewa strik­ers.

Star turn: Hughes long range goal in the cru­cial mo­ment of play killed Rewa’s hopes of a comeback win.

Com­ments: Suva coach Riyaz Ali said: “The ground con­di­tion was dif­fi­cult but our play­ers played ac­cord­ing to our game plan. This is a good start for us.”

Rewa coach Marika Rodu said: “There is no ex­cuse for the loss to­day as Suva played well.

“We had two weeks of train­ing and we need more play­ers so that we have a lot of op­tions for our next league game.”

Ground con­di­tions: Wet

Crowd: Ap­prox­i­mately 250


Suva: Emori Ra­gata, Epeli Lairote, Waisake Navu­ni­gasau, To­masi Uciloa, Filipe Bar­avi­lala, Ivan Ku­mar, Ravi­nesh Singh, Kaliova Tivulu, Shahil Dave, Bruce Hughes, Setareki Hughes

Rewa: Simione Ta­man­isau, Pe­ni­ame Drova, Josateki Ta­muou, Posiano Kal­isito, Mi­tieli Na­muka, Vu­ni­uci Tiko­maimereke, Gabriele Matanisiga, Taione Kere­vanua, Sairusi Nal­abu, Jone­tani Buksh

Photo: Fiji Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion

Kaliova Tivulu of Suva cel­e­brates his goal against Rewa in their Voda­fone Premier League match on Jan­uary 14, 2018. Suva won 3-2.

Photo: Peni Komaisavai

Suva striker Setareki Hughes (right) shields the ball away from Sairusi Nal­abu of Rewa dur­ing the Voda­fone Premier League opener at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nau­sori on Jan­uary 14, 2018.

Photo: Fiji FA Me­dia

Suva play­ers cel­e­brate after Kaliova Tivulu scored their sec­ond goal at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nau­sori on Jan­uary 14, 2018.

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