The National, Thursday 24th November 2011
GIANT killers Besta (PNG) United pulled off a major upset when they defeated reigning NSL champions Hekari United 2-1 in the Telikom National Soccer League mid-week match at the Lloyd Robson Oval yesterday.
In front of small but appreciative crowd, Besta showed they were up for the challenge playing with commitment and enthusiasm.
Besta, comprising players in the PNG development squad shot ahead when striker Jamaal Seeto pushed one past Hekari goal keeper Leslie Kalai to lead 1-0 at the break.
Seeto, the golden boot winner last season, was joined by Max Sengum, Simon Emmanuel, Vanya Malagian and Jacob Sabua, who were part of the PNG side to the U20 qualifiers in New Zealand last April, put on a performance that belied their youth and experience.
Hekari pulled one back when Fijian defender Pita Bolaitoga headed in a David Muta corner kick.
The Fijian, making his first appearance this season, was joined by his two compatriots, Maciu Dunadamu and Taniela Waqa.
The goal lifted Hekari’s spirits and there were patches in the second half when a comeback seemed imminent but the visitors kept the Reds out with some good scrambling defence.
Besta then blew their opponents away with a brilliant piece of play from the midfield which saw Emmanuel push a neat pass out wide to Sammy Hiob, who caught Hekari’s trio of Koriak Upaiga, Bolaitoga and Waqa napping.
Kalai struck the winning goal, which brought celebrations for the yellow jerseys on the field.
The win sees them sharing the second spot with Hekari on 10 points while Gigira Laitepo Central Coast head the table on 12, City Pharmacy Eastern Stars 5, MMJV Bulolo United 4, Petro Souths 3 and NBS Tukoko Uni Lae 1.
After their 2-0 loss against Auckland City in the O-League last Saturday, Hekari did not field a full strength side with Kema Jack, Neil Hans and Andrew Lepani notably absent from the match day 18.
But Hekari head coach Jerry Allen contended that his players had their fair chances but took wrong options and failed to put them away.
“We had our chances unfortunately we could not convert them and it cost us dearly.
“Besta to their credit made use of their opportunities to score and win the match,” Allen said.
Realistically, he said the loss would now give confidence to other franchises to aim to defeat the champion club.
“Therefore, I believe they put a lot of hard work into their preparations for the game and came up with a good result,” he said.
A rapt Besta coach Bobby Morris confirmed his opposite’s appraisal putting the win down to preparation saying his young team had been in camp for three weeks leading up yesterday’s clash and the vitory would create momentum for the team.
“We have been training for the last three weeks for this match and I just so happy with the result,” Morris said.