27 May, 2018, 12:30 pm
NO team have confirmed its spot in the semi-finals of the 2018 Vodafone Fiji FACT after day two of competition at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori last night.In Group A, Labasa leads with four points after the Babasiga Lions drew with Ba 1-1 in a crucial match where a win for Labasa would have helped them become the first team to qualify.
Labasa took an early lead in the 12th minute when midfielder Edwin Shayam beat Ba goalkeeper Misiwani Nairube.
Ba was a different side in the second half when they continuously applied pressure on the Labasa defence and even opted to play hard at them.
Labasa’s Lekima Gonerau was red carded by referee Veer Singh in the match as Ba players Abbu Zahid, Malakai Tiwa and Meli Codro tried their luck to equalise.
The rain started to pour heavily midway in the second half and Malakai Tiwa headed in the crucial goal which helped keep Ba’s semi-final berth hopes alive.
“We were leading and then Ba came to equalise and it is part of football. I told the players to play beautiful football as everyone gave their 100 per cent effort in the match,” Labasa coach Anand Sami said.
“We will have to come back strongly against Rewa so we can qualify for the semi-final. Edwin scored one of the beautiful goals in the match. “We will come up with some new strategies against Rewa.”
Ba manager Arvind Singh said Ba played until the final whistle which saw them finishing with one point.
“It was a tough game and Labasa managed to score early in the match through our mistake and at last we managed to equalise to keep our chances alive,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lautoka leads Group B with four points followed by Suva on three while Tavua is also on three points and Nadi has one point after two matches.
Ba– Misiwani Nairube, Avinesh Swamy, Amena Bolaitamana, Sitiveni Cavuilagi, Simione Nabenu, Abbu Zahid, Meli Codro, Kishan Sami, Malakai Tiwa, Narend Rao, Laisenia Raura
Labasa- Akuila Mateisuva, Iliesa Lino, Sitiveni Rakai, Edwin Sahayam, Lekima Gonerau, Christopher Wasasala, Ilisoni Lolaivalu, Ashnil Raju, Ratu Anare, Antonio Tuivuna, Taniela Waqa