February 15, 2018
Ba has bowed out of the 2018 OFC Champions League after two straight defeats in its Group A matches in Port Villa, Vanuatu.
The Men In Black lost their opening match 1-0 to local side Nalkutan FC last Saturday.
A second half handball inside the box saw the sending off of experienced midfielder Malakai Tiwa and awarding of a penalty to Nalkutan FC.
Solomon Islands midfielder James Naka successfully slotted in the penalty to register the historic for the club- their first ever win in the regional competition.
And in their second match on Tuesday, the Ronil Kumar coached side went down 1-0 to Lae City Dwellers of Papua New Guinea 1-0.
Ba needed to win the match at any cost to keep its quarterfinals hopes alive.
Goalkeeper Josaia Ratu featured strongly between the sticks and denied the opponents many scoring opportunities in first half.
He made some daring saves in the second half as well but some sloppy defending saw Solomon Islands marksman Tutuzama Tanito slamming in the winner for Lae City Dwellers and booking their spot in the quarters and ending Ba’s hopes.
Ba plays its final group match against Tupapa Maraerenga of Cook Islands tomorrow and is highly likely to finish third as their opponents have registered big losses in their previous matches.
The Ba vs Tupapa Maraerenga match kicks off at 3pm (Fiji Time) while Nalkutan FC and Lae City who have both progressed to the quarters will play for top spot in the group at 6pm.
By Reginald Chandar