Student or Learner
(a) The local team, defeated in second consecutive match and struggling to find form, was knocked out of the tournament.
(b) The local team, defeated in second consecutive match and struggled to find form, was knocked out of the tournament.
I understand that (a) is correct because the present participle struggling is used. How do I grammatically justify (figure out, since I need to explain this to someone) that in (b) is incorrect because in (b), struggled is not a past participle but a simple past verb?
This is because both, the simple past, as well as the past participle of struggle is struggled (as is the case with most English verbs).
"The local team, who had been/who were defeated in their second consecutive match and who were struggling to find form, were knocked out of the tournament."
The person you are explaining it to should be able to understand that the team being knocked out was a one-off event in the past but the fact that they were struggling to find form was an ongoing/continuous event in the past.
Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.