The National, Monday 25th March 2013
By HENRY MORABANG
A courageous 10-men FC Port Moresby have shown true heart in the Telikom National Soccer League.
The battlers came from behind to force a 1-1 draw with reigning premiers Hekari United in round eight at the Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby on Saturday.
Port Moresby was reduced to 10-men in the 12th minute after star midfielder Roniel Igens was sent off for a professional foul.
Igens was guilty of handling a Hekari shot at goal and his sending off was compounded with a penalty to the premiers.
Referee Salaiau Sosogan was spot on in sending him to an early shower. Igens will miss the next two league games.
Striker Kema Jack put Hekari in front by slicing the spot kick neatly into the left corner.
With a man down, FC Port Moresby had to play their hearts out, with stand-in coach Robert Popat saying his players had come prepared for the vital game and were pleased with the result.
“A win would have been a bonus for the boys but they were happy with the 1-1 match,” Popat, who stood in for Joseph Montemurro, said after the game.
Hekari could have easily capitalised on Igen’s sending off but wasted several good chances through Samuel Kini, Raymond Gunemba and Wira Wama.
The Reds led for the best part of the game but were finally undone by a former Reds player in Niel Hans.
It took Hans five attempts at the Hekari defence before he sailed a ball over the defence to beat goalkeeper Leslie Kalai for the equaliser in the 68th minute.
Referee Salaiau Sosogan’s calls proved frustrating for both sides and he was later subjected to a verbal and physical confrontation by Hekari coach Jerry Allan as he walked off the field.
Sosogan immediately hinted he would submit a report to National Soccer League management to place Hekari’s Solomon Island coach on report.
In the main game, NC Civil Oro FC came close to beating Eastern Stars FC before settling for a goalless draw. Oro FC missed the services of skipper Hamson Daniel sidelined with injuries.
The Lua Vagi-coached Oro had a great opportunity with a spot kick to fullback Peter ‘Spiderman’ Karava but he sent the ball straight to Eastern Stars’ rugby league-fullback-cum-goalkeeper Paul Peter.
In Kimbe, West New Britain, Gigira Laitepo Morobe United FC stuck with their starting team to finish the 90 minutes of a hard-fought game by winning 2-0.
The Besta United and Welgris Highlanders match was deferred as the majority of Besta players are with the PNG Under-20 team taking part in the OFC World Cup qualifiers in Lautoka, Fiji.
Points ladder as of last weekend: Hekari 22, Besta 16, Gigira Laitepo FC 14, FC POM 11, NC Civil Oro FC 7, Eastern Stars 7, Welgris 5 and WNB Tavur 4.