Good days ahead: Suva coach
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
Kaliova Tivulu of Suva celebrates his goal against Rewa in their Vodafone Premier League match on January 14, 2018. Suva won 3-2.
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.
Suva players celebrate after Kaliova Tivulu scored their second goal at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori on January 14, 2018.