NGIP Agmark Guria’s star five-eighth Dion Aiye’s field goal in extra time of the preliminary final of the bemobile Cup match yesterday helped his side to a nail-biting 25-24 victory over Bintangor Lahanis at the Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby.
And in Lae, Mioks ended any hope of a capital city team making the grand final this year with a heart-stopping 28-24 victory in extra time over early competition pace setters Masta Mak Rangers.
The match at the Lloyd Robson Oval yesterday went down the wire in the wet conditions created by an afternoon drizzle making ball control difficult for both sides.
Lahanis came into the match with a surprise package shocking Guria in the first 15 minutes to lead 10-0, centre pairing Ganet Auwo and Kevin Inagafa both crossing for the Lahanis, with rake Glen Nami successfully converting Auwo’s try.
But the Tolai boys had their own plans and struck midway through the first half, when flying winger Boas Ruru crossed out wide in the 33rd minute.
The next two minutes of play saw consistent Guria outside centre Larsen Marape coming up with his special, stepping a number of half-hearted Lahanis defenders to touch down under the uprights from dummy to level the scores 10-10.
Guria pivot Aiye stepped up his attacking prowess, this time flicking a pass to flying second rower Kot Kurua, who bulldozed his way through to score under the uprights for Guria to take a 16-10 half-time lead.The boys from the volcanic land stepped up their attack in the early part of the second stanza resulting in hardworking winger Albert Patak scoring from a well structured set play, fending off Lahanis second rower Sigfred Gande before touching down in the corner in the 51st minute for Guria to further extend their lead to 20-10.
However, the try hungry Lahanis pegged back the lead when outside centre Kevin Iganafa strolled in for a try in the 62nd minute and Nami collecting the extras from a difficult angle.
However, it was the shot in the arm needed by the Goroka lads as they focused on riding the Guria lands into the ground.
However, they became literally physical in their bid and gave away two silly penalties upon which Rolly Matalau extracted four points in their favour.
Fullback Adex Wera’s individual effort in the 75th minute of the game and the ensuring Nami conversion got the Lahanis to within two points of Guria with five minutes on the clock.
Marape turned villain when it counted by giving away a penalty to the Lahanis after a high shot at Nami in Guria’s 10m right on the full-time siren.
Nami collected the two points and set the stage for extra time toss up.
And that’s when the ever reliable magic boots of Guria five-eighth Aiye came into play and rescued the Tavuvur boys the match up against Mioks this weekend.
The Lahanis are hoping that they will return for a second crack at Guria with a win over the Mioks in the second preliminary final this weekend.
Guria captain George Moni admitted that it was a tough and “scary” battle but was glad that his boys managed to scrape through in the end to secure a grand final berth.
“Before match, I told my boys to show the opponents and the supporters that we can win games away from Kalabond and this victory showed that to be a fact,” added Moni.
Guria 25: L Marape, A Patak, B Ruru, K Kerua tries, R Matalau (4), D Aiye field goals, beat Lahanis 24: K Iganafa (2), G Auwo, A Wera tries, G Nami (4) goals.