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Suva start their season successfully

Players from Suva and Rewa scramble for the ball during their match. Photo Credit: Fiji FA Media

Suva began their title defence in Fiji’s Digicel Premier League with a 1-0 win over Rewa.

Mohammed Ramzan’s goal in the 31st minute proved the difference for Suva on Sunday during a round that was marked by a number of tight clashes.

On Saturday, Labasa and Ba opened the 2021 season with a goalless draw at Subrail Park in Labasa, while Lautoka slipped past Navua 1-0 a day later courtesy of a goal from Sairusi Nalaubu; Nadroga’s clash with Nadi ended in a 2-2 draw.

In the opening round of the Digicel Women’s Super League in Fiji, Ba beat Labasa 4-2, Rewa topped Tailevu Naitasiri 2-0 and Nadroga beat Suva 2-0.

With only a few matches left in the S-League, the Henderson Eels can take a major step towards securing a maiden national league crown in the Solomon Islands when they meet Real Kakamora on Wednesday.

The Eels hold a four-point advantage over the Solomon Warriors who continue to put the pressure on Henderson.

In the fixtures from the past week, Marist beat Real Kakamora 4-2 last Wednesday, while Honiara City topped Southern United 3-1 on the same day.

During the weekend, the Warriors beat Southern United 4-2, Central Coast solidified their hold on third place on the table with a 3-0 victory over Marist, Laugu United and Kossa fought out a 3-3 draw, and Isabel United downed the Malaita Kingz 7-2.

The Kingz will be back in action on Wednesday against the Solomon Warriors before the Eels meet Real Kakamora.

In New Zealand, Eastern Suburbs AFC will travel to play Hawke’s Bay United on Wednesday with a spot in the semi-finals in the ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership on the line.

This fixture was postponed recently following a change in Alert Levels in New Zealand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The equation is simple for Suburbs, if they win they will claim fourth spot and will meet Auckland City at Kiwitea Street on Sunday but a draw or loss will see them miss out on the playoffs.

If Suburbs are unable to win, Waitakere United will hold onto fourth place on the ladder and will play Auckland City.

The other semi-final is already confirmed and Team Wellington will host the Hamilton Wanderers in the capital on Saturday.

This weekend’s winners will advance to the final that is set to be played on Sunday, March 21.

In Papua New Guinea, the Northern Conference of the Women’s National Soccer League came to a close during the weekend as Poro FC finished first.

In a shock result, Sepik FC upset Poro 3-1 on Saturday marking Poro’s only loss of the season; the win will likely give Sepik plenty of confidence heading into the semi-finals.

In the other matches from the final round, Morobe Tulip FC beat Rainy Lae FC 4-3, Bara FC edged Markham Raings FC 2-1 and Pacific Gardens drew 1-1 with Tusbab Laidamon.

The playoffs – featuring Poro against NCD Hekari United FC and Sepik v Genesis – are expected to take place on Saturday, March 20 with the final to be played the following week.

The Wantoks claimed gold in the men’s division of the CIFA Beach Soccer Championship in the Cook Islands.

The final round of matches took place on Saturday and the Wantoks emerged victorious, while Matavera FC were second followed by the PFC Guyz.

The Wantoks are presented with their first place trophy. Photo Credit: CIFA Media

In Tahiti, Pirae have moved to the top of the Ligue 1 ladder following a 5-0 win over Central Sport on Sunday.

Pirae holds a two-point lead over Dragon who are the only two teams that are undefeated this season.

In the weekend’s other matches, Pueu maintained their hold on third place with a 2-1 win over Tiare, while AS Venus hammered Olympic Mahina 6-1, Jeunes Tahitiens downed Mataiea 3-2, and Arue got past Excelsior 5-4 in a high-scoring encounter.

The Tonga Football Association distributed hygiene packages to more than 160 schools in the Kingdom last week as part of the COVID-19 relief assistance from FIFA.

The Hon Hu’akavameiliku, Minister of Education and Training, was the guest of honour at the event that went ahead despite heavy rain.

Meanwhile, football activities have been suspended in New Caledonia for two weeks after positive coronavirus cases were detected in the community.

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