April 05, 2008
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The Labasa soccer side created history this afternoon at Govind Park when they ended Ba's 14 year reign with a well deserved 2-1 victory in the second leg of the Pillay Garments CVC series.

The Babasiga Lions scooped a prize money of $3000 while Ba got $1000.

As expected, the match turned out to be a thriller and fireworks exploded straight from the first whistle and continued till the final moments of the match.

Vodafone Men In Black Ba backed by a jam packed Govind Park supporters started the first half well and displayed their typical one touch football in the first fifteen minutes but lost their momentum as Labasa crowded their midfield and started to play long high balls to speedster Maciu Dunadamu who time and again beat the Ba defence with ease but failed to capitalise on his chances.

Central midfielder Thomas Vulivuli missed a golden opportunity after being set up neatly by Henry Dyer in the 32nd minute. Vulivuli lost possesion on a one one situation to Ba goalie Nicholas Lawrence.

Dunadamu livened up the match in the 42nd minute when he finally managed to place the ball neatly beyond the reach of diving Lawrence.

The goal brought joy to the Labasa officials and fans and added more pressure as Ba had to score three clear goals instead of two which was the initial scenario.

The Babasiga Lions led 1-0 at halftime and did not look back in the second spell and went attacking from the kickoff and were rewarded with their second goal in the 18th minute when nippy midfielder Dinesh Mudliar completed a Labasa onsalught on Ba goalmouth with his second attempt which landed in an empty net as Lawrence was well beaten out of his goal.

Majority of the Ba fans lost hope after the second goal and made their way out of the Park expressing their disappointment at the dismal performance of the home side.

Ba brought in their super sub Tuimasi Manuca in place of Niumaia Tagi to add spark to their attack but tight defence by Taniela Waqa, Samuela Kautoga, Apisalome Turuva and birthday boy Nemani Rasiga gave the Ba attack no chance.

Stocky Ba striker Josaia Bukalidi did not have a good day in the field at all as he missed over a dozen opportunites and waited for the ball to be delivered to his feet.

National midfield general Avinesh Warran Swamy tried to keep pressure on the Labasa goal with his thunderous strikes from outside but superb goalkeeping by Shamal Kumar kept him out of the score sheet.

Dunadamu, Henry Dyer, Mudliar and replacement Ajesh Narayan missed clear opportunities after outclassing the Ba defence but lack of proper finishing denied the Lions more goals in the match.

Ba introduced Maviliko Nakama in the dying minutes of the match and the youngster proved his worth as beautifully placed the ball to the back of the net to pull one back and gather some respect for the Men In Black in the extra time.

Tears of joy flowed freely amongst the Vodafone Labasa players and officials after the final whistle by referee Rakesh Varman as the northerners snatched the Champions title and status from the Men In Black.

The teams:

Ba-Nicholas Lawrence, Malakai Keinahewe (C) (Maviliko Nakama),Leone Vurikania,Shalen Lal, Jone Vesikula,Avinesh Swamy, Alvin Singh (Rinal Prasad), Shamil Rao, Niumaia Tagi (Tuimasi Manuca), Josaia Bukalidi, Ronald Lawrence.

Labasa-Shamal Kumar, Taniela Waqa, Samu Kautoga, Sandeep Nair (Kushal Naicker), Nemani Rasiga, Apisalome Turuva, Henry Dyer, Thomas Vulivuli,Dinesh Mudliar (Ajesh Narayan),Pita Bolaitoga (C), Maciu Dunadamu.


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