Enjoying much more of the ball, Ba found that the conditions played to their style of football well, as they switched between quick passes through the middle and long chips over the backline.
The persistent attacking finally wore Tupapa down in the 24th minute, when wily striker Samuela Nabenia found the back of the net for the Fijian side’s first goal of the tournament.
Nabenia struck twice more either side of the break before his former Fiji U-20 teammate Narend Rao netted a fourth.
Maro Bonsu-Maro put in the hard yards to set up Sean Latimer, who made no mistake when he lashed the ball low to score in the 76th minute, but the damage was already done.
Fiji coach Ronil Kumar said he was happy to at least be going home with three points.
“It makes me really happy that we started scoring goals, even if it wasn’t until the third game. At least we are taking back three points,” he said.
“It’s not the end of the road for us. We will iron out the mistakes and be back for 2019.”
Tupapa Maraerenga’s Alex Napa said the competition was very much a learning experience for his side, with the younger members definitely the main recipients.
“We knew coming here that it would be tough, and we looked at it as a learning experience. I am certain that for some of the team’s younger members, perhaps in two to three years’ time they will be leading a Cook Islands team much further through in this competition.”
Meanwhile, OFC Champions League debutants Nalkutan used home ground to their advantage as an impressive second-half performance saw them overcome the favoured Lae City Dwellers 4-1 to claim the top of Group A. - OFC