2019 Vodafone Fiji FACT: Nadi upsets favourite Lautoka

Nadi's Josua Tawake celebrates after defeating Lautoka in the Vodafone Fiji FACT Semi-final clash at Churchill Park in Lautoka yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

NADI upsets favourites and host Lautoka 3-2 in the 2019 Vodafone Fiji FACT semi-final at Churchill Park yesterday to book a spot in the final this afternoon.

Having lost the first group match against Ba last week, the Jack’s Nadi side proved to be the giant-killers of the tournament ousting the Design Engineering sponsored Blues with their superior finishing from set piece play.

Lautoka started strongly but Rahul Krishna scored the opener for the Jetsetters against the round of play in the 14th minute. Kolinio Sivoki equalised in the 34th minute after nodding in a cross from Jone Vesikula.

Both teams were locked 1-all at halftime.

Jeshil Kumar put Nadi up in the 53rd minute with a close range shot following a corner kick while Tito Vodowaqa got the third goal for the visitors nodding in a corner kick in the 67th minute.

Replacement Sairusi Naulabu headed in a corner kick in the 74th minute to keep Lautoka’s hopes alive but the Nadi defence stood strong to see out the fixture.

At the coaching level, it was the battle between the master (Kamal Swamy-Lautoka coach) and student (Pranesh Amarsee-Nadi coach) which was eventually won by the student.

Amarsee labelled the victory as the highlight of his coaching career. He said it was their fitness and determination that got them through. “Beating Lautoka on their home turf with a young Nadi side is something special,” Amarsee said.

“This win is just too much. We went in as the underdogs against a team which has so much experience and came out on top.

“Our fitness and determination got us through. We were disciplined from day one of the competition.”

Nadi last won the Fiji FACT title in 2016. The district also won the title back to back in 2013 and 2014.

“We have beaten Lautoka which is classed as the Fiji team by many,” Amarsee said.

“We will have to regroup and recover for the final. I think the student won today but I have all the respect for Kamal as I have learnt a lot from him and probably used all the tactics against him in the match.

Nadi- Vereti Dickson (C), Ame Votoniu, Rahul Krishna, Peni Tuigulagula, Josua Tawake, Jeshal Kumar, Christopher Kumar, Patrick Joseph, William Valentine, Tito Vodowaqa, Rusiate Matarerega Lautoka- Beniamino Mateinaqara, Kolinio Sivoki, Jone Vesikula, Afraz Ali, Zibraaz Sahib, Dave Radrigai, Shivam Naid0u, Kavaia Rawaqa, Samuela Drudru (C), Samuela Nabenia, Benjamin Totori.

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