LAUTOKA sweeper Poasa Bainivalu saw red in the Blues 1-0 victory against Nadroga at the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants at Govind Park in Ba yesterday.
Referee Rakesh Varman sent Bainivalu off the field in the 33rd minute after he elbowed Nadroga striker John Rounds Jr in an off the ball incident.
Despite being a player short the Sugar City side kept up the tempo and scored in the second spell through Ratu Josefata Dugucagi following a free kick.
The Stallions needed a win in the fixture to keep their chances alive in the tournament but could not capitalise of their opportunities despite having the numerical advantage.
The win earned Lautoka a spot in the semi-final next Saturday.
The performance of the Lautoka team is a big turnaround from their Vodafone Fiji FACT outing where they failed to make it to the semi-final.
Lautoka coach Lambert Sarju was unimpressed with Bainivalu's unnecessary challenge on Rounds Jr.
Sarju said the red card put the rest of the players under pressure.
"Very disappointed with Poasa and what he did in the game," he said.
"It was an off the ball offence and for a defender of his calibre, he should have been more careful. He committed the offence and was sent off.
"Actually we had nothing to lose in the match and changed the structure after the red card. Down to ten players, there was frustration and some players received yellow cards."
Lautoka is most likely to field a second string team against Suva this afternoon.
The second loss to Nadroga ends their 2014 BOG title hopes.
Nadroga coach Joseph Nitya Nand said luck was not on their side in the match.
He said the players failed to adhere to the instructions given from the side line.
"We had tonnes of possession but could not utilise it which was the biggest problem," Nand said.
"The problem is when you have the numerical advantage you don't play rush football. You keep possession and then release it moving forward.
"I had been telling them from the sideline but a few of the players are very young and they need to get into the system.
"It will take some time to build this team technically because most of the players haven't gone through the development program."
Nand said Nadroga would be a different team next year.
"I'm optimistic of the future and we will work with this young side.
"We had problems getting players to training because of work commitments and this has to be rectified for the Inter District Competition in October."