July 29, 2018
Ba claimed its 17th Battle Of Giants (BOG) title in Lautoka today after beating Suva 2-0 in extra time of a pulsating final.
The Men In Black netted their goals in the second spell of extra time as both teams failed to find the back of the net in normal time and first spell of extra time.
Ba entered the final with the favorites tag after thumping Nadi 4-0 in the semifinal yesterday, but a spirited and determined Suva outfit proved to be worthy opponents and matched them in all aspects of the match.
Both teams opted to play 4-4-2 formation and this somewhat made the style of play similar.
After an evenly matched and tight first half, the teams looked more settled and confident in second spell and shots start to flow in on the two goalmouths.
Ba Captain Malakai Tiwa missed a golden chance in the 68th minute as he only needed to place the ball as the defence and goalkeeper was beaten, but he shot over the cross-bar.
Savenaca Nakalevu, Bruce Hughes, Shahil Dave and Captain Ravinesh Karan Singh posed some threats on the Ba goal with shots but good timing by goalie Josaia Ratu and stable defending by evergreen Avinesh Waran Swamy kept the Whites at bay.
As the match headed into extra time, Ba introduced youngsters Kini Madigi and Simione Nabenu and the pair made all the difference as they used their speed and agility well to set up their goals.
The first spell of extra time failed to produce any goal but a nice floated deep cross from Madigi on the right flank in the second minute of the second spell saw Zahid sneak in with a header to send the 5000+ crowd into a frenzy.
Suva in its quest to find the equalizer, tried out all possible combinations and goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau also pushed himself forward during set-plays.
And in one of the free-kicks, where he got involved upfront, Ba managed to clear the ball away and find Nabenu who outpaced a few defenders and placed the ball into the path of Samuela Nabenia to score the second goal and consolidate victory for Ba as the goalmouth was empty with Tamanisau failing to fall back in time.
Ba won $15,000 for finishing on top while Suva walked away with $4000 for its efforts in reaching the final.
Ba- Josaia Ratu, Avinesh Swamy, Laisenia Raura, Meli Codro, Malakai Rakula (Simione Nabenu), Abbu Zahid, Manasa Nawakula, Malakai Tiwa (C), Naren Rao (Kini Madigi), Saula Waqa, Samuela Nabenia.
Professional Valuation Suva- Simione Tamanisau, Remueru Tekiate, Waisake Navunigasau, Epeli Leiroti, Sakaraia Naisua, Ravinesh Karan Singh (C), Kelvin Naidu (Kaliova Tivulu), Filipe Baravilala, Shahil Dave, Bruce Hughes, Savenaca Nakalevu.
By Reginald Chandar