June 26, 2022
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Ba holds in-form Delta Tigers in DPL

Fiji's OFC Champions League representative Rewas was held to a 1-1 draw by Ba in their Round 10 Digicel Premier League clash at Churchill Park in Lautoka today.

Each side tested the waters slowly in what turned out to be a torrid encounter under the hot scorching sun.

Rewa midfielder Tevita Warainaivalu took the side’s first chance at goal, but Ba goalkeeper Tevita Koroi was up to the challenge in the third minute.

Bruce Hughes, Ivan Kumar and Rusiate Matarerega threatened the Ba defence with good attempts, only to be denied by Koroi, who returned to the starting lineup after being on the bench during the entire Fiji FACT earlier this month in Sigatoka.

Ba midfielder and young find, Nabil Begg had the host team’s best chance of the first half towards the end of the half with a well curled free-kick but equal to the occasion was goalkeeper Emori Ragata as the teams went to the break with a goal-less draw.

Rewa started the second half restocked with Abbu Zahid coming on for Waranivalu and Neemesh Prasad being replaced by Samuela Nabenia.

The Glamada sponsored Delta Tigers broke the deadlock in the 50th minute of play when Bruce Hughes took a free kick  from the left hand edge of the box.

The ball swivelled into the box finding Zahid who nodded it on perfectly for Matarerega to connect with a header and find the roof of the net, giving Koroi no chance at all.

Rewa Ragata was substituted in the 60th minute after colliding with Peceli Sukabula.

Ragata's attempt to save the situation was questionable as he seemed to have fouled the attacker in front of the goalmouth, but match referee Kavitesh Behari thought otherwise and instead awarded Ba a corner-kick.

National goalkeeper Mohammed Alam took Ragata's position for the remainder of the match.

Ba also took the chance to make changes with Balbir Singh being replaced by Faazil Ali.

Ali, a Fiji U19 rep added more speed and spark to the Men in Black attack and proved a handful for the Rewa defence.

He used his pace and skills well to send in a perfect delivery to lanky Etonia Dogalau who found the equaliser for Ba in the 77th minute.

Rewa Coach Marika Rodu opted for some tactical switches on the field and sent in Kishan Sami and Josaia Sela in place of Ivan Kumar and Iowane Matanisiga.

The pair in their attempt to contain the quicker Ba attackers, committed fouls and had yellow cards flashed at them.

Ba pressed hard and dominated possession in the last ten minutes of the encounter but poor finishing by Kini Madigi, Ali and Begg coupled with some good saves by Alam kept the scores unchanged till the final whistle.

Rewa remains second in the DPL and now has 21 points after 10 matches while Ba is third with 19 points.

The teams:

Ba- Tevita Koroi, Manasa Nawakula (C), Praneel Naidu, Rahul Naresh, Peceli Sukabula, Balbir Singh (Faazil Ali), Savenaca Nakalevu (Shivneel Singh), Nabil Begg, Etonia Dogalau, Naren Rao, Kini Madigi.

Rewa- Emori Ragata (Mohammed Alam), Kavaia Rawaqa (C), Peniame Drova,  Gabriel Matanisiga, Iowane Matanisiga (Josaia Sela), Ivan Kumar (Kishan Sami), Tevita Waranaivalu (Abbu Zahid), Neemesh Prasad (Samuela Nabenia), Patrick Joseph, Rusiate Matarerega.

By Noa Biudole


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