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Navua overpower ‘fans choice’ All Stars

Cloudy weather and a looming cyclone failed to deter the spirits of the nearly 4,000 loyal football fans who turned out in numbers to witness the eagerly anticipated clash.
The All Stars XI, chosen through a public vote organised by Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, applied the early attacking pressure but failed to crack the Navua defence.
But with 15 minutes played, it was Navua who opened scoring as striker Simione Tamanisau followed up a rebound off the opposition woodwork to pounce and score the first goal.
Five minutes later central midfielder Alvin Avinesh gave Navua a handy 2-0 lead with a stunning 35 yard drive past the outstretched All Stars goalie Filimone Boletawa.
The All Stars looked to have found a lifeline back into the match when they were awarded a penalty towards the end of the first spell. But, much to the disappointment of the crowd, midfielder Shamil Rao’s shot hit the cross bar and the score remained 2-0 to Navua.
Stirred at halftime by coach Tagi Vonolagi, the All Stars regrouped in the second spell and applied spells of pressure to the Navua defence.
However the Fijian IDC Champions’ defence held firm and replacement Navua striker Meli Codro scored in the dying stages to hammer one final nail into the All Stars’ coffin.
Navua coach Gurjit Singh told Fiji FA Media that he was pleased to see his side maintain their champion status following their historic Inter District Championship (IDC) victory in October – their first at the prestigious tournament in 71 years of competition.
“I’m very happy, excited and I take my hat off to the boys. They played really well and have created more history for this club. We did not expect to win by this margin and now we will focus on the next match,” Singh said.
All Stars coach Vonolagi was confident that his side will bounce strongly back from the loss.
“Navua was a much fitter side and for us we just came together for a week but this cannot be an excuse. I’m likely to make some positional changes and we should do better,” Vonolagi said.
Navua won $3,000 (FJD) in prizemoney for the victory. The second match will be played this Saturday at the TFL National Stadium in Suva.
Starting teams:
Navua: 12. Ben Aminio, 5. Pene Erenio, 17. Simione Maikeli, 4. Seveci Rokotakala, 14. Taniela Waqa, 13. Alvin Avinesh, 8. Usaia Tadu, 15. Simione Tamanisau, 9. Jesoni Takala, 12. Siga Ali, 2. Pranil Chand
All Stars: 1. Filimoni Boletawa, 4. Shamil Rao, 5. Ronil Kumar, 6. Malakai Waqa, 8. Esava Naqeleca, 10. Kamal Hassan, 11. Samuela Vula, 12. Peni Finau, 15. Osea Vakatalesau, 18. Marika Madigi, 19. Keni Doidoi

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