By ISAAC LIRI
NIGEL Dabinyaba starred in Toti City’s 9-1 victory over Snax Lahi yesterday in the first wash-out match of the Kumul Petroleum National Soccer League (NSL) Northern Conference at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium.
The game was equally contested in the first half with City leading 2-0 but the flood gates opened in the second stanza as the defending champions scored seven unanswered goals to finish off with a big win.
Dabinyaba opened the scoreboard in the 18th minute and City skipper Raymond Gunemba found the back of the net in the 44th minute to give them a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Lahi did well to reply with a goal from Brian Kassam but City regrouped and dominated the rest of the second half with goals by Emmanuel Simon (54th minute), Michael Foster (57th) and a free kick on the 61st minute by Emmanuel Airem.
Dabinyaba scored a hat-trick in the space of five minutes — 70th, 72nd and 75th — and Obert Bika put the icing on the cake in the 80th minute.
NSL Northern Conference coordinator Haiveta Kivia described City’s second-half performance as outstanding.
“They are the defending champions and the result clearly shows what they are capable of,” Kivia said.
City coach Peter Gunemba said there was a big difference in their performance compared with last weekend’s game against the Tusbab Stallions in Madang.
“We saw a big difference compared with last weekend and that’s how we want to perform at this level,” Gunemba said.
“The team effort was there.
“Ball control was tight and our defence was structured, thanks to Peter Dabiyaba Jr and Mosie Milubwa who really played well at the back.
“We will be heading to New Zealand in April to play Auckland City in the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Champions League quarterfinals.
“So we are looking forward to all our NSL matches as lead-up games.”
Kivia said the conference now had five wash-out games to be played and will be having mid-week games from next week to complete them.
The cancelled matches were all because of City’s and Morobe Wawens’ participation in the OFC Champions League pool stages last month.
By ISAAC LIRI