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Fiji Time: 2:13 AM on Tuesday 23 September

/ Front page / Sport

Champs again

Zanzeer Singh
Sunday, January 26, 2014

STRIKE ace Osea Vakatalesau headed in an extra time corner kick against Nadi to earn Ba a record 18th Champion versus Champion (CVC) title at Churchill Park in Lautoka yesterday.

Ba defeated Nadi 2-1 in the deciding Pillay Garments CVC match after the earlier two matches ended in a 1-all draw.

Vakatalesau who celebrated his 28th birthday 11 days ago, perfectly timed Avinesh Warran Suwamy's corner kick in the 115th minute nodding the ball past goalkeeper Benaminio Mateinaqara.

The national rep seemed fatigued going into the two 15 minute extra spells and indicated to the coaching staff to be replaced.

However this never eventuated and the lanky player managed to pull through on his way to become the hero after serving a one-match suspension following a red card in the opening clash.

Vakatalesau revealed that the corner kick was one of those moves that they practised regularly at training.

He said it was a positive sign to get off to a winning start in 2014.

"I'm happy with the win because it was not an easy game," Vakatalesau said.

"It was a team effort. The boys gave their 100 per cent. We practised those sorts of corner kicks at training.

"Every time Avinesh takes the corner kick he makes sure that the ball will find me.

"My target was the near post and I took that run. It was perfectly timed."

Ba scored first through Mavileko Nakama in the 34th minute.

Uraia Loki equalised with a header in the 44th minute.

Extra time was played after the match ended 1-all after 90 minutes.

Nadi coach Kamal Swamy said Ba capitalised on their mistakes.

Swamy said the CVC series proved to be a tough one.

"It was a great game," he said.

"We made some mistakes that Ba capitalised on. Both teams were equally matched in the series.

"We missed a few chances. But then we have a young squad. They have a bright future ahead of them.

"They will certainly learn from this.

"It was a tough series and we took the defending champions through to the third match. That is an achievement in itself for Nadi.

"We will now look ahead to the National Football League. We hope to meet Ba again and show the fans entertaining football."

Ba soccer coach Yogendra Dutt said his players proved they did not lack the fighting spirit.

"In the first two games we came from behind to draw," Dutt said.

"Today (yesterday) we scored first but Nadi came back.

"My boys never lost hope and played until the last minute.

"We lost some senior players to overseas clubs but we still managed to nurture our home grown talents by giving them game time."

Ba Football Association president Rishi Kumar confirmed that the winning prize purse of $4000 would be distributed to the players.

Nadi received $2000.

Ba:

Epeli Codro, Abbu Zahid Shaheed, Marika Madigi, Aviensh Suwamy, Meli Codro, Mavileko Nakama, Remueru Tekiate, Josefata Neibuli, Jone Vesikula, Laisenia Naioko, Osea Vakatalesau.

Nadi:

Benamino Mateinaqara, Munit Krishna, Vuniuci Tikomaimereke, Ilimotama Jese, Rahul Krishna, Rusiate Matarerega, Amani Makoe, Eliki Ravosai, Napolioni Qasevakatini, Uraia Loki, Ame Votoniu.


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