Defending champions on track |

Defending champions Yalalevu Club Football of Ba is on track to defend its title after beating Nadi’s Ezy Kool Max Nalovo FC 1-0 in the opening match of the 2020 Vodafone National Regional Club Championship at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka.

Sanaila Waqanicakau scored the lone goal in the 40th minute of play after tapping in a well-timed cross from Junior Singh from the right flank which caught goalkeeper Vereti Dickson stunned.

Extreme heat in the Coral Coast proved to be the factor for the players as both teams had a very slow pace of the game in both half.

Yalalevu FC had the services of Ba midfielder Malakai Tiwa, striker Sanaila Waqanicakau, Junior Singh, Shivneel Singh, Nabil Begg, Aisea Codro, Shaneel Narayan, Saula Matarai, Sailasa Naicegu,Isimeli Vuniwaqa, Diego Ranuku, and goalkeeper Ravinesh Anand Singh while Max Nalovo FC had Nadi goalkeeper Vereti Dickson, Vuniuci Tikomaimereke, Netani Kacanavesi, Josua Tawake, Shaneel Goundar, Benaminio Lebatavatava, Joseph Miller, Ritik Prakash,Napolioni Qasevakatini, Serevi Waqa and Husseini Khan.

Yalalevu FC coach Marshal Ali said he was happy with the performance of his young brigadiers.

 “The team played well and I thank Nalovo FC for giving us a good show. We needed this first win to set the pace for the tournament but it is not the end we cannot relax.”

“Our aim is to defend the title and we will do our best to achieve our goal,”said Ali

His counterpart Nadeem Mohammed said they had moved their focus on the second match against Suva’s Northpole FC.

“We badly need a win in our next match. It is a do or die situation for us since this is a three team affair and we will go back into the drawing board and come out firing in our last pool match,”said Mohammed

Mohammed said the boys played well but lacked concentration which gave the defending champions opportunity to score the goal against them.

Max Nalovo FC will face Suva’s Northpole on Saturday at 4pm while Yalalevu will take on Northpole on Sunday at 1pm.

Meanwhile host Greenstar FC of Nadroga created a major upset on Day one after beating Lautoka’s Press FC 3-1 in the Group A fixture.

The Tomasi Tuicakau captained side came back from to beat the Lautoka champions with two goals in the dying stages of the match.

Press FC captain Zibraz Sahib scored the opener in the tenth minute of play from the penalty spot after Sekove Finau was fouled in the penalty box.

Greenstar’s Tomasi Tuicakau equalised after beating the Press FC defense in the 31st minute.

Both team went to breather locked 1-1.

The host came out firing in the second half and kept pressuring the defense which saw in the 87th minute Tuicakau scoring his double and in the 90th minute Zain Ali.

Press FC will face Rewa’s Sharam Hangers Kasavu FC today at 2pm while Ezy Kool Max Nalovo FC will take on Suva’s Periperi Northpole at 4pm.

Yalalevu FC will battle Northpole FC at 1 pm while Greenstar will play Kasavu FC at 3 pm on Sunday in the final pool fixtures.

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