Opinions / Analysis
2014 Vodafone Fiji FACT Champions and 2-time Pacific Cup Champions – the Esy Kool sponsored Nadi Fiji side bundled out of the 2014 edition of the tournament at pool stages after suffering a heart-breaking 2-3 defeat against home side, the AFFA All-stars earlier tonight.
After the NZ All-stars booked their semifinal spot from Pool 1 with an impressive 9-2 riot over NZ Nadroga Stallions earlier in the day, reaching a tally of maximum 9 points from 3 games, Nadi Fiji with 6 points from 3 games was in a must win situation against AFFA All-stars with superior GD to progress any further at the event.
Veteran Ratu Veresa Toma powered home early in the deciding fixture to give the ‘Green Machine’ a 1-0 cushion at the breather. It turned all haywire in the second half when AFFA All-stars managed to steal the equalizer and go on to grab the lead before William Valentine leveled it up in favor of the ‘fighting for survival’ Jetsetters.
AFFA All-stars with the services of Jone Ralulu, Malakai Tiwa, Shivan Swamy, Alvin Singh, Sitiveni Watkins and OFC Presidents Cup Player of the Tournament Panagiotis Nikas scored the late winner in the 32nd minute of the 2nd half.
However, it was the control of this all important fixture by the match officials that grabbed more attention at the final whistle than the result itself.
The Nadi Fiji bench felt clearly victimized claiming the 1st and the 3rd goals were both scored from offside positions. Coach Kamal Swamy had already vented his disgust during the second days play when Nadi Fiji went down to NZ All-stars in a shocking 2-1 defeat.
Fans took it to social media to express their displeasure hurling Nadi Fiji seemed maltreated from the opening day.
The incompetency of the match officials were highlighted in several reports.
Meanwhile Fiji soccer giants Ba’s dismal season continued as they also failed to make the cut for the semifinals from PoolShare