July 20, 2018
Ba registered an impressive 2-0 win over arch rivals Labasa in their opening Group B clash of the 2018 INKK Mobile Battle Of Giants (BOG) at Churchill Park in Lautoka tonight.
The Babasiga Lions suffered a blow before the match as top goalkeeper Akuila Mateisuva was unable to obtain leave from work and replacement Shaneel Naidu started in his place.
The Men In Black on the other hand had their best lineup and Captain Malakai Tiwa used his experience well to marshal play from the middle of the pitch.
A defensive blunder by Labasa allowed defender Manasa Nawakula to poke the ball into the back of the net and give Ba a 1-0 lead in the 9th minute of play.
Both teams made early substitutions and Labasa sent in veteran Taniela Waqa in place of Ilaisa Nayasi while Ba pulled out Mavileko Nakama after he was yellow carded and replaced him with Amena Bola.
Lanky marksman Saula Waqa headed in Ba’s second goal in the 30th minute after connecting well with a Narendra Rao corner kick.
Ba led 2-0 at halftime and maintained his consistent performance in the second half while Labasa despite showing some good play in midfield and attack was unable to get on the score-board.
Labasa Coach Anand Sami said they conceded easy goals which could have been avoided.
“It was a good game but my players made some mistakes in defence and that cost us dearly. We got better and more composed in the second half but the finishing was just not there.”
“We will have to work on our finishing and improve general play as well before our next game tomorrow.”
Ba Manager Arvin Singh saluted his players for their wonderful display.
“My young players really played well. We have a lot of respect for Labasa and tonight they were very good as well but we were hungry to win. The two goals in the first half gave us the advantage and we maintained good performance in the second half.”
Ba faces Tavua in its next match at 2pm tomorrow while Labasa will come up against host Lautoka in the feature Day 2 match at 6pm.
Ba- Josaia Ratu, Avinesh Swamy, Meli Codro (Patrick Sarwan), Manasa Nawakula, Mavileko Nakama (Amena Bola), Abbu Zahid, Malakai Rakula, Malakai Tiwa (C), Saula Waqa (Kini Madigi), Naren Rao, Laisenia Raura.
Labasa- Shaneel Naidu, Iliesa Lino, Sitiveni Rakai, Ilaisa Nayasi (Taniela Waqa), Edwin Sahayam, Lekima Gonerau, Christopher Wasasala, Ilisoni Loloivalu (C), Ashnil Raju (Thomas Steiner), Jale Dreloa, Ilisoni Logaivou.
Referee: Ravitesh Behari
By Reginald Chandar