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Amicale minute

Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, May 01, 2014

WITHIN a minute, Amicale FC did what Ba fans dreaded.

Just like that, the Vanuatu club reduced Ba's chances of making the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League final.

Ba lost the opening leg of the semi-final 1-2 at Govind Park last Sunday and needs a clear two goal win in the final leg this Saturday in Vanuatu.

Looks like our dream to have Fiji represented in a FIFA world event will remain for sometime, hopefully, until at least the Oceania under-20 playoffs later this month.

However, you can't really rule the Men in Black out until it's over.

Despite all odds, Ba will need more than its giant reputation to make a grand comeback this weekend.

The team has done that in the past but locally and it will be interesting to see how they do in this regional battle.

Ba, following that stunner from Avinesh Suwamy in the opening spell in the first leg of the semis, had the match in the bag but it was the tactical move from the opposition that worked to its advantage.

Amicale coach Nathan Hall switched attack from left to right in the second spell after his strikers found it hard to burrow through the Ba defence from the left flank.

Midfielder Dominique Fred, who orchestrated Amicale's play, was well marked by defender Laisenia Raura in the first half but after that switch, he did well to deceive Marika Madigi to score the equaliser and a minute later, setting up the winner for Kensi Tangis.

The visitors threw everything in the early stage of the opening spell and then towards the end of the first half but that lapse in concentration between the 59th and 60th minute of the play may have cost Ba the OFC Champions League final berth.

Amicale took advantage of what looked like the frustration in the Ba defence after that failed back pass from Madigi, which resulted in the equaliser.

It was an unfortunate mistake but things like that happen in football.

Remember Steven Gerrard's cruel slip at Anfield on Monday which gifted Demba Ba and Chelsea the opening goal.

Chelsea went on to win the match 2-0 despite having less than 30 per cent possession and a low strike rate.

If Manchester City wins the English Premier League title, that slip will haunt the Liverpool skipper forever!

Back to Ba, it's not over yet. While the side has a mammoth task ahead of them, it is not impossible.

What they really need is to believe in themselves and play like champions because champions never say die.

Just like Manchester United. Believe. There is always next time.

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