Ba upsets Kiwis
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Bas Shalen Lal, left, steers clear of the Waitakere United defence during their O League clash at Govind Park in Ba yesterday. The hosts beat the visitors 2-1.
PAPUA New Guinean referee Job Ponis Minan needed a police escort after Ba upset Waitakere United 2-1 in the first leg of the O League final on a soggy Govind Park yesterday.
The Waitakere United players confronted Minan when he blew the final whistle after he had denied the Kiwi's a late equaliser.
The visitors thought they had levelled in injury time only for the referee's assistant to lift his flag to award an off side.
Led by captain Danny Hay the Kiwi players protested the referees decision which fell on deaf ears.
Waitakere United coach Steve Cain disputed the call of the referee saying Ba's Shalend Lal had propelled the ball into his own net.
Despite the loss Cain praised the efforts of his players.
He said it is a must win situation for his side in the return leg. Cain said his side is likely to undergo some changes next Sunday.
The visitors scored an important away goal in the second spell through Solomon Islander Commins Menapi. Though Ba scored twice, Waitakere United's lone goal will count as two on aggregate.
National coach Juan Carlos Buzzetti described the encounter as a game of two halves.
He said Ba dominated the first spell while Waitakere United held the upper hand in the second half.
"Ba missed many chances in the first half," Buzzetti said.
"They missed the services of Peni Finau in defence. In the second half the high balls didn't help Ba as Waitakere United managed to clear. It was a good win for Ba though Waitakere United scored a goal which will mean a lot going into the second encounter."
Waitakere United dominated the opening few minutes launching repeated attacks.
Strikers Allan Pearce and Menapi failed to get their attempts on target.
On the counterattack Ba scored to the delight of the 10,000 fans.
Joasia Bukalidi broke through the right flank and provided a timely low cross for Rland Lawrence to slam the ball past Michael Utting in the 7th minute.
The goal lifted the Ba players as they managed to penetrate the Waitakere United defence.
Lawrence was a thorn for the Kiwi's as he made inroads through the right flank. Malakai Tiwa, Lawrence and Bukalidi blew away chances from in front of the goalmouth.
Ba led 1-0 at the break.
Waitakere United moved up in attack in the opening minutes of the second half pressuring the Ba defence.
Menapi intercept a pass and lobbed a classical left footer around Laisenia Tuba for the equaliser.
Kiniviliame Naika who missed Fiji's United States tour due to injury came on as a substitute to provide the through pass for Bukalidi to nail the winner in the 75th minute.
The Waitakere United defence pushed up in the dying stages. A cross from the left flank was scrambled into the Ba goalmouth however the lineman flagged a Waitakere United player to be in an off side position.
The second leg will be played in New Zealand on Sunday.
The winner of the O League will qualify to play the winner of the J League for a spot in the FIFA World Club Championship.
Ba: Laisenia Tuba, Malakai Kenahewe, Luke Vidovi, Jone Vesikula, Robert Wise, Shalen Lal, Keni Doidoi, Malakai Tiwa, Roneel Kumar, Ronald Lawrence, Josaia Bukalidi Junior.
Waitakere United: Michael Utting, George Suri, Danny Hay, Rupesh Puna, Jakub Sinkora, Hoani Edwards, Jeff Campbell, Allan Pearce, Commins Menapi, Daniel Koprivcic, Craig Wylie.