Rewa booked their spot in the final of the 2017 Vodafone Fiji FACT final after defeating Labasa 6-5 in penalties at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori.
As expected, the match proved to be a thriller with both teams displaying fast paced and constructive football.
Rewa midfielder and former Labasa rep Taione Kerevanua scored the opener in the 38th minute after tapping in Samuela Kautoga’s attempt on goal which was palmed away by goalkeeper Akuila Mateisuva.
Rewa led 1-0 at halftime and had more possession in the second half but failed to capitalize on its chances as Kautoga, Iosefo Verevou, Gabirielli Matanisiga and Tevita Waranaivalu missed golden chances in front of the goal.
Christopher Wasasala leveled scores for the Babasiga Lions in injury time after his deep cross from the left hand corner was misjudged by goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau and landed into the roof of the net.
The teams failed to score any further goals in extra time and the winner had to be decided in penalty shoot-out where goalkeepers Tamanisau and Mateisuva gave their all and made the crucial saves. Captains Antonio Tuivuna and Lorima Dau saw their attempts get saved by the goalkeepers. Lekima Gonerau put Labasa up 2-1 with his attempt while Mateisuva saved Verevous attempt. Mateisuva put Labasa up by 3-1 with is attempt and Kerevanua kept Rewa in contention by placing his attempt at the back of the net. Manasa Levaci scored from Labasa’s fourth kick while Amani Makoe scored from his attempt for Rewa. Tamanisau saved a crucial penalty from Edwin Sahayam and Vuniuci Tikomaimereke leveled the scores 4-4 with Rewa’s fifth kick. Akeimi Ralulu and Tevita Waranaivalu’s attempts were saved by the keepers while Leone Damdamu and Matanisiga found the net as the scores remained level at 5-5. The winner had to be decided by the Eighth kickers and Tamanisau brilliantly saved Ilisoni Loloivalu’s attempt and Goundar made no mistake with his attempt as he blasted the ball into the back of the net to send the Rewa fans into frenzy while Labasa fans walked out of the park disappointed.
Rewa will face the winner of the Suva vs Nadi semifinal in the grand finale at 2.30pm tomorrow.
The teams: Labasa- Akuila Mateisuva, Nickel Chand, Edwin Sahayam, Anish Khem (Jonetani Buksh), Lekima Gonerau, Christopher Wasasala (Akeimi Ralulu), Ilisoni Loloivalu, Manasa Levaci, Ratu Apenisa Anare, Antonio Tuivuna (C), Taniela Waqa (Leone Damudamu).
Rewa- Simione Tamanisau, Peniame Drova, Lorima Dau (C), Vuniuci Tikomaimereke, Iosefo Verevou, Gabiriele Matanisiga, Madhavan Goundar, Tevita Waranaivalu, Taione Kerevanua, Amani Makoe, Samuela Kautoga (Sailosi Rayaqona). Referee: Navneet Varman