2023 Fiji Fact | Blues beat champions

Lautoka's Samuela Bokini makes a save against Suva during the Digicel Fiji FACT 2023 at HFC Bank Stadium last night. Picture joNA KONATACI

The Lautoka football side edged hosts and defending champion Suva 1-nil at the 2023 Digicel Fiji FACT at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva yesterday.

Suva, missing five key players through injuries and international duties, started well but failed to convert their opportunities into goals.

Lautoka also had their share of chances but Suva stopper Akuila Mataisuva kept the Blues strikers at bay.

The teams rested tied nil-all at half-time. Lautoka applied pressure in the second spell as the recent outing at the OFC Champions League seemed to have taken its toll on Suva.

Lautoka, after a few missed sitters, managed to find the back of the net when former Ba marksman Saula Waqa put them ahead with a reflex header.

Waqa pounced on a cross in the Suva box and headed it beyond the reach of Mataisuva. Lautoka were reduced to 10 players when defender Epeli Leiroti was sent off for a dangerous foul on Mohammed Ramzaan.

Lautoka held in the dying moments to start the tournament on a high.

Lautoka plays Navua at 1pm today while Suva battles Ba at 7pm.

Suva: Mataisuva, Inoke Turagalailai, Meli Codro, Rusiate Matererega, Ramzaan, Dave Radrigai, Malakai Rakula, Ravinesh Karan Singh, Samuela Drudru, Filipe Baravilala, Merrill Nand

Lautoka: Senirusi Bokini, Waqa, Aporosa Yada, Zibraaz Sahib, Sitiveni Cavuilagi, Afraz Ali, Ilimotama Jese, Kishan Sami, Sairusi Nalaubu, Sakaria Naisua, Leiroti

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