Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fijian side flying high

Fiji's Lautoka have seized the initiative in Group A of the 2011 O-League after posting their second win on the trot, a 1-0 triumph over competition newcomers Amicale.

Valerio Nawatu, right, was on target as Lautoka posted their
second O-League win in a row with a 1-0 win over Amicale.

The group's other match saw Hekari United get their campaign back on track in style with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Koloale, while today's sole Group B fixture ended in a 1-0 win for Magenta over Tefana.

Like Lautoka, Vanuatu side Amicale had also recorded a victory in their opening match – upsetting defending champions Hekari 2-1 in Papua New Guinea – so something had to give this afternoon at Govind Park in Ba.

Striker Valerio Nawatu was the hero as his 19th-minute strike proved to be enough to guide the home side to another three points. Australian Mathew Mayaro, who was on target himself in Lautoka's opening round 2-1 win over Koloale, took on the role of supplier this time as his through ball put Nawatu in the clear to score.

Lautoka enjoyed the upper hand for the rest of the half but Amicale came back strongly in the second spell and gave goalkeeper James Nicholas plenty to do in the final quarter of the match.

For the most part though, Amicale's much-vaunted attacking trio of Alick Maemae, Jack Wetney and Stanley Waita were kept relatively quiet by a Lautoka defence well-marshalled by skipper Alvin Avinesh.

Amicale did have two golden opportunities to score but Shamil Rao was on hand to clear on both occasions.

The visitors' day got even worse after the final whistle when Richard Anisua argued with the referee in an unsporting manner and was belatedly issued a red card.

Lautoka boss Gurjit Singh was pleased to pick up another win and says the team's focus has now already turned to the next O-League match against Hekari.

"It was a good win for us because it now sees us top the pool," he said.

"The game was evenly played. We dominated the first half and they came back strong in the second. We have to work on many areas as we prepare for our next game."

Disappointed Amicale coach William Malas believes his players let themselves down.

"We came here for a win but it was not our day," he said.

"The lack of concentration and indiscipline cost us. We will now go back and prepare for the match against Koloale."

After losing 2-1 to Amicale in their opening O-League match, Hekari were desperate for a confidence boost ahead of their impending FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010 campaign.

They got just that when Solomon Islands star Henry Fa'arodo struck in the 32nd minute and local hero Kema Jack added a second just before half-time. Fa'arodo got his name on the scoresheet again in the 64th minute before Abraham Iniga rounded off the scoring 12 minutes later.

Fa'arodo could have turned his brace into a hat-trick in the last minute of regular time but Koloale goalkeeper Shadrock Ramoni managed to keep his spot kick out.

New Caledonian side Magenta earned French territorial bragging rights in the day's only Group B fixture, Jean Philippe Saiko's 65th-minute goal giving them a narrow victory over Tahitian counterparts Tefana.

The second round of 2011 O-League action wraps up on Sunday when the two New Zealand heavyweights, Waitakere United and Auckland City, clash at United's Fred Taylor Park home from 2pm local time.


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