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CVC Series: Young Lions Upset Ba FC

The Northerners are on a three-tournament winning streak, after claiming the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants and Courts Inter-District Championship last year.
27 Jan 2020 10:45
CVC Series: Young Lions Upset Ba FC
Labasa celebrate winning the Pillay’s Garment Champion versus Champion at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori on January 26, 2020. Photo: Simione Haravanua

Labasa football coach Ronil Lal praised his players’ attitude after they beat Ba 2-1 to claim the Pillay’s Garment Champion versus Champion Series at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori yesterday.

The Northerners are on a three-tournament winning streak, after claiming the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants and Courts Inter-District Championship last year.

A late goal from Anare Apenisa– his second of the game– gave Labasa a well-earned win despite Ba striker Micah Tommy’s equaliser earlier on.

Lal said: “It was a do-or-die game for us and the boys never gave up, the message was clear from the start and the result is sweet.

“We fielded a youthful side and that has been the backbone of Labasa. These young boys were just too good and I applaud them even though we had less time to prepare and the travelling we did around Viti Levu was not easy.

“I want to thank the boys for the win and a gallant performance now we shift our focus to the Vodafone Premier League next week.”

Ba dominated possession throughout the 90 minutes but could get anything past Labasa goalkeeper Akuila Mateisuva.

Their big signings from Lautoka, Samuela Drudu and Benjamin Totori, failed to spark again in the second match running as Labasa stayed patient to claim the win.

Siotame Kubu was a constant threat for the Ba defence, which looked nervous every time the striker touched the ball.

Apenisa’s shot from outside the penalty box in the 35th minute drew first blood as they took a deserved 1-0 lead at half-time.

Ba upped the intensity in the second half, scoring through Tommy who was set-up by Totori.

As it stood, Ba would win the title on the away goals rule but Labasa had other ideas.

The game hung in the balance for a while and there was some drama as Labasa defender Sitiveni Rakai was sent off for violent conduct.

Ba’s Praneel Naidu was also sent off a few minutes later for a harsh foul that saw the game take a bitter turn.

In the 93rd minute, Apenisa capitalised on a defensive blunder to score the winning goal and send the Labasa fans into a frenzy.

Edited by Sheldon Chanel

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