Ba beat AS Gaitcha

With the backing of over one thousand home fans, the Men in Black opened the campaign on a high note with the opener through the boot of nippy midfielder Abbu Zahid in the 21st minute with a powerful drive from inside the penalty box.
Kevin Coma’s side were made to pay for sloppy defending from a set piece which left Zahid unmarked in the penalty area with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Midfielder Malakai Tiwa doubled the side’s account with a timely header ten minutes later following a corner kick by Avinesh Waran Swamy.
The teams went into the break with Ba leading 2-0.
AS Gaitcha came out firing in the second spell and Shalen Lal’s side were sufficiently disciplined in defence not to allow the likes of New Caledonian striker Bertrand Kai in behind the back four.
Defender Remeura Takiata made a timely save on the line when goalkeeper Misiwane Nairube was clearly beaten, but the Ba stopper was otherwise largely untested.
Lal brought in Vodafone Fiji U20 midfielder Junior Narendra Rao and Australian based James Hoyt to replace Saula Waqa and Keegan Linderboom.
The substitution worked a treat and after a good interplay, Swamy added the final nail in AS Gaitcha’s coffin with a calmly chipped finish past Rocky Nyikeine in the 88th minute.
Gaitcha coach Kevin Coma says the biggest difference between the two sides was the error rate.
“This is a big disappointment especially in the sense of the boys’ performance,” he said. “I’m not surprised; three goals, three errors. Something that we knew in Caledonie, something that we weren’t sure if we’d be able to fix ahead of arriving here and at this level it’s cost us.”
Lal was impressed by his side’s performance and says the scoreline flattered the hosts somewhat.

The first game is supposed to be the toughest,” he said. “We were lucky to have scored so early in the first half and it turned the momentum of the game for Ba”.
He singled out central defender Alvin Singh for praise after an impressive and professional performance marshalling the back four.
Ba’s second game of the tournament is against Samoan champions Lupe Ole Soaga at 4:30pm on Tuesday.
Lupe recorded an historic 3-3 draw with AS Pirae in its first game at the OFC Champions League.
Fiji FA Media

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