August 09, 2020
Defending champion Labasa bowed out of the 2020 Punjas Battle of the Giants on Sunday after being held to a 1-1 draw by Nasinu in its final Group A match at Churchill Park in Lautoka on Sunday.
The Babasiga Lions needed a win in the fixture to progress to the semifinal.
Labasa made a good start and opened its account in the 18th minute through striker Ilisoni Loloivalu.
Nasinu lost goalkeeper Meli Bavatu to an injury and had him replaced by Viliame Rakuro in the 28th minute.
The Northerners were awarded a penalty in the 39th minute but goalkeeper and captain Akuila Mateisuva's attempt went inches away from the right post.
Nasinu applied the pressure in the second half and after a couple of misses, the giant-killers were awarded a penalty in the 58th minute after Mateisuva fouled Solomon Islander Marlon Tahioa.
Striker Jasnit Vikash slammed the ball into the back of the net with his attempt to level scores.
Labasa toiled very hard to get the second and winning goal but solid defence by Captain Leone Damudamu, Leone Damudamu and Asaeli Tunidau kept the attackers at bay.
Labasa ended its campaign with 3 points while Nasinu finishes with 4 points and will now await the outcome of the Ba vs Suva match.
A draw or a loss to Suva will send Nasinu into the semifinals with Ba who have already qualified.
By Reginald Chandar