Western hold off Dwellers


WESTERN United put on a clinical performance upfront to send Lae City Dwellers packing with a 5-3 defeat in the final Group C match of the OFC Champions League on Saturday in Auckland.
As anticipated from both sides who were chasing a victory by at least two goals to keep the pressure on Auckland City, Western United’s clash with Lae City Dwellers promised to be an attacking affair and the teams did not disappoint.
Dwellers coach Peter Gunemba thought conceding a penalty early in the game changed the course of the match.
“In the first-half we had control of the ball and were dictating play but we missed a lot of chances,” Gunemba said.
“Western United scored from the penalty; our players weren’t happy with the decision and that affected their performance.
“We did well to score one [goal] and revive our hopes for the second-half but things didn’t turn out as we hoped.”
Despite the match being an end-to-end spectacle, Western were far more clinical in front of goal and raced to a three-goal lead after 37 minutes, thanks to a Henry Fa’arodo penalty and goals to former Eastern Star player Paul Wale and former Lae City Dwellers Joachim Waroi.
Lae’s skipper Raymond Gunemba had the final say in the half, cutting into the deficit just before half-time and an unlikely comeback looked a possibility when Ken Kepe met a corner at the back post on the hour mark. Veteran striker Benjamin Totori rolled back the years with a dazzling solo effort to restore the two-goal cushion five minutes later and Atana Fa’arodo made the points safe with an 88th minute penalty.
George Debenham scored an injury-time consolation goal for Lae, who were now down to 10 men after Obert Bika’s 84th minute dismissal. The result was made academic, with Auckland securing the points they needed but Western United coach Commins Menapi was still happy to take the qualification race to the final match.
Western United [SOL] 5 (H Faarodo 17’ Pen, PWale 21’, J Waroi 37’, Benjamin Totori 65’, A Faarodo 88’ Pen) Lae City Dwellers [PNG] 3 (R Gunemba 44’, K Kepe 60’, G Debenham 90’+2)

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