The National, Thursday, April 28, 2011
By FRANCO NEBAS
DEFENDING champions Lae Biscuit Poro continued their reign in the Lae Football Association pre-season soccer challenge after edging Panamex 1-0 in the men’s grand final on Monday.
But it was National Soccer League striker Raymond Gunemba who stole the show with his 80th minute goal to give Poro their second title.
The champions also walked away with cash prizes courtesy of Lae-based firm, FTM Construction Ltd , the sponsors of the event.
It was also a double celebration for the Papua compound club with their women defeating archrivals Taraka West 4-3 in the other final.
Taraka also picked third placing in the men’s division after ousting City United 3-2 earlier in the day.
It was a hard-fought battle for the champions before coming out winners with new-look Panamex boasting several semi-professional players.
Panamex seemed to dominate in the opening minutes but failed to find the target with goalkeeper Matheson Nasa denying them every opportunity at goal.
Rodney Alu, Mosi Milubwa, Rueben Maibi and Momis Kipu also proved solid in defence to restrict their opponents any goal-scoring opportunities.
Both sides came back strongly in the second half with some classy skills to the delight of the crowd.
Panamex’s attack was boosted with substitute flanker Clancy John and Soku Singhi continuously threatening their goal area but to no avail.
But it was Poro who struck in the 80th minute after an excellent ball work in the midfield found Gunemba, who beat several defenders before belting a powerful left footer to secure a win.
Meanwhile, LFA president Toki Mambere thanked FTM Construction Ltd for stepping in to sponsor the challenge.
Mambere said securing sponsorship was very difficult because of issues related with violence.
He said that association executives would not hesitate to take tougher measures against clubs or supporters involved in violence.
“We will not tolerate any violence in the competition,” he said.