NIPPY striker Abbu Zahid Shaheed scored in the dying stages to rescue Ba to a 1-all draw against Nadi in the opening match of the Pillay Garments Champion versus Champion series at Prince Charles Park yesterday.
With a minute remaining on the clock a long clearance was miss judged by the Nadi defence allowing Shaheed to toe the ball past goalkeeper Benaminio Matainaqara.
The Kamal Swamy-coached Nadi side dominated the second spell after Osea Vakatalesau was showed the marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Nadi missed numerous scoring opportunities from in front of the goalmouth.
Ba goalkeeper Meli Codro played gallantly under the crossbar showing that he had the potential to take over the position from Jone Ralulu who is now based in Australia.
Nadi scored in the 52nd minute through Rusiate Matarerega's penalty after Napolioni Qasevakatini was fouled in the Ba box.
Ba coach Yogendra Dutt rested Avinesh Suwamy, Remueru Tekiate and Vakatalesau on the bench opting for Paula Buke, Narendra Rao and Laisenia Naioko in the starting line-up.
Dutt said their tactical ploy worked.
He said discipline was one area that the players would need to improve on.
Dutt said Vakatalesau's handball which earned him the red card was unnecessary.
"When we are playing a champion side we have to organise things well," he said.
"We have proven most of the times that even with ten players we are able to come back. We are proud of our achievement.
"But we have to work on the discipline. That hand ball by Osea was unnecessary and it should not have happened. If he had followed the ball he certainly would have scored.
"The pressure was so much because of how both teams battled against each other last year. When we play away against big teams like Nadi, we always go for a draw. We rested Osea, Remueru and Avinesh and our game plan worked."
Nadi coach Swamy said they should have won by a big margin but failed to utilise their opportunities.
"We missed a lot of chances," he said.
"We should have finished this game with a big margin but it is the beginning of the season and the boys are bound to make mistakes. Ba is an experienced side. We did not expect that kind of lapse of concentration at the end."
The second match will be played at Govind Park next Sunday.
Nadi: Benaminio Matainaqara, Uraia Loki, Ame Votoniu, Rusiate Matarerega, Vuniuci Tikomaimereke, Napolioni Qasevakatini, Munit Krishna, Amani Makoe, Rahul Krishna, Ilimotama Jese, William Valentine.
Ba: Epeli Codro, Josefata Neibuli, Meli Codro, Laisenia Naioko, Ronil Kumar, Paulo Buke, Mavileko Nakama, Abbu Zahid Shaheed, Jone Vesikula, Narendra Rao, Marika Madigi.