SUVA, ( FIJI TIMES) – Ba’s unbeaten run in the Fiji Airways Oceania Champions League came to an end Tuesday night as the Men In Black went down 2-0 to Team Wellington.
Ba went out of the race to win the $US500,000 ($F1.2m) and a trip to the Club World Cup.
The New Zealand team scored two identical goals from corner kicks taken from the same side and coincidentally striker Michael Gwyther was on the spot both times to score his brace.
The game started with both teams increasing the tempo and testing each the defence.
In the 9th minute Team Wellington was awarded a penalty kick for a challenge by RemueruTikiata. Gwyther’s kick was stopped by keeper MisiwaniNairube sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Then the corner kick that eventuated from that penalty saw Gwyther head the ball home making up for the missed penalty. Four minutes later, another corner kick was awarded from the same end, and Gwyther repeated his earlier header to double the score.
The goals saw Ba pick up the game and they slowly started dominating possession. Then in the 27th minute, Ba was awarded a penalty kick for an alleged handball which was used to block a shot at goal.
Ba’s Keegan Linderboom stepped up to take the shot but placed it to his left and allow goalkeeper Michael O’Keefe to save it.
Linderboom was not at the top of his game as he gave away possession.
Changes were made in the second half and despite immense pressure by Ba they failed to score. Malakai Tiwa and Avinesh Waran Suwamy could not keep their shots on target.
Ba coach ShalenLal said despite the loss he was happy with the performance of his team.
“We created the chances but could not score and the boys played their hearts out,” he said.
Team Wellington coach Matthew Calcott said the match was tough as Ba dominated the game.
“The difference were those two set pieces, we were lucky to have scored from them as Ba did not allow us to play. We would have loved more possession,” he said.
Team Wellington will play Auckland City in an all New Zealand final on Sunday at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.