December 02, 2018
Ba claimed its 20th Champion vs Champion title today at Churchill Park after beating Lautoka 2-1 in the second and final leg of the series at Churchill Park.
After winning the first leg 1-0 on Friday night, the Men In Black just needed a draw to clinch the title while Lautoka needed to win by two clear goals.
The Blues made a good start and Captain Samuela Drudru opened their account in the 6th minute after intercepting a goal-kick clearance and beating the defence, before placing the ball beyond the reach of young goalkeeper Atunaisa Naucukidi.
Ba replied with the equaliser three minute later as Solomon Islander Darold Kakasi tapped in a beautiful through pass from Malakai Rakula.
Midfielder Dave Radrigai had a golden chance to put Lautoka in the lead in the 37th minute but his shot was blocked well by the goalkeeper.
The teams rested 1-1 at halftime and Ba managed to score the winner in the 61st minute through Captain Malakai Tiwa who connected well with a free-kick and nodded the ball into the roof of the net with a beautiful header.
Kakasi could have scored the third goal in the 76th minute after beating the entire defence, but his moment of hesitation and less power in the final attempt saw it sail over the cross-bar.
Lautoka toiled hard for the equalizer and sent in Sairusi Nalaubu and Samuela Nabenia to add more strength to their attack but outstanding defence by veteran Avinesh Swamy and youngsters Kalivati Sivoi and Simione Nabenu denied them on several occasions while goalkeeper Naucukidi also made some daring saves.
Ba received $5000 and the Pillay Garments sponsored trophy while Lautoka received $2500 for its effort in the two-legged series.
Lautoka- Beniamino Mateinaqara, Zibraaz Sahib, Edward Justin (Sairusi Nalaubu), Jone Vesikula, Dave Radrigai (Samuela Nabenia), Kavaia Rawaqa, Benjamin Totori, Poasa Bainivalu, Samuela Drudru (C), Mataiasi Toma (Praneel Naidu), Kolinio Sivoki.
Ba- Atunaisa Naucukidi, Avinesh Swamy, Darold Kakasi, Simione Nabenu, Kini Madigi (Savenaca Nakalevu), Abbu Zahid, Kalaveti Sivoi, Kishan Sami, Malakai Tiwa (C),Malakai Rakula, Sanaila Waqanicakau (Luke Savu).
By Reginald Chandar