By BUSTIN ANZU
PETRO SOUTHS caused the surprise of the day when they draw 1-1 against Gigira Laitepo Morobe FC in their round three National Soccer League (NSL) in Lae over the weekend.
The boys from the Southern Highlands, where mining activities are booming and soccer is making its headway into a predominantly rugby league territory, the courageous performance in the second half was just enough for a well-deserved draw.
The day’s other match between Eastern Star and Tukoko University, also in Lae, ended in 0-0 draw.
Gigira and Souths pulled out all the stops and entertained the crowd at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium in the sweltering conditions.
The Morobe team had several opportunities in the opening minutes of the first half and skipper Goroba Tawa made sure of his chance when he nailed a cross by Hans Mambare.
In the second half, Petro contained the pressure well with their defence giving no room for the hosts but, in doing so, limited their own opportunities.
The visitors were given a free kick outside the box where midfielder Peter Anjakopa collected Gigira keeper Dennis Kali’s defletion to slot the ball into the net.
Buoyed by the turn in fortunes, Souths then stepped up their offence and ran the ball into Gigira’s territory on many occasions but did find the right finishing touch.
Giriga strikers Pascal Worjen and Khou Liem could do little as they were well marked bydefenders Joey Ambrose and Timothy Makmai.
Former CMMS Tigers playmaker Bruce Kusunan was called into the match in the dying minutes but, he too, found the Souths defence hard to beat.
Ambrose in particular stood out on defence for the southerners being peerless in the aerial contests and gave Tawa nothing after the Morobe striker’s opening goal.
The clash between Hekari United and Besta United was deferred due to Hekari’s O-League commitment while Madang Fox had the bye.