Suva is going to meet Nadi this Sunday at Subrail Park in Labasa as they surpassed the hosts by 3-1 in the second semi-final match of the day. The Capital City Boys had to deal with the pressure of playing away from home and against the current Inter-District Champions and also with the terrible pitch conditions of Subrail Park, but they ended up victorious in the final whistle of the game.
The first half ended goalless, but not because of lack of goalscoring chances: both goalkeepers had to use their abilities to prevent suffering any goals, especially Labasa’s Akuila Mateisuva that ended made at least three key stops in the first 45 minutes of play. The bad pitch conditions forced the teams to use free-kicks and corners as their main attacking options.
Unfortuantely for the hosts, minutes later of the restart of the game in the second half, the powerful striker Christopher Wasasala found the nets after a acrobatic cross to the area, the ball ended up close to the goal line and the Wasasala just need a simple touch to put the ball in. But the lead of Suva did not take long as minutes later Ilisoni Logaivau took his chance to find the nets in the 6-yard box. The game was tied and the fans were on fire at Subrail Park.
Beniamino Mateinaqara was called to action several times after the equaliser; first making an impressive stop in a finish from Ratu Anare and later after a good run and shot of the wing-back Lekima Gonerau. While Labasa had the control of the game and most of the ball in the attacking third of the current national champions, a counter-attack changed the destiny of the game: the ball presented itself to the top-scorer of the year, Sairusi Nalaubu, that made no mistake in front of Mateisuva to score his 5th in the Fiji FACT and second for his in the game.
Labasa’s head coach Ronil Lal introduced the newly married Ashnil Raju into the game, but the technical midfielder could not have impact: the ground was not proper for his passing-game style and forced Labasa to desperately keep going for big balls to the box. The Babasiga Lions continued their pressure upfront backed by their fans, but at the 80th minute of play the speedster Shahil Dave finished with quality in the right down corner of Mateisuva to score the third of Suva and confirm their spot in the final.
Labasa tried all they could in the final moments of the game, but certainly not enough to grant them another grand final game of a major tournament. The year is over for the Babasiga Lions, while Suva is going for their second final of major tournament in Fiji this year and will hope to forget their defeat for Rewa at Battle of Giants and remember the glory of the Vodafone Premier League to inspire their players against Nadi this Sunday at 1pm.