The National – Monday, March 28, 2011
By HENRY MORABANG
IT will be an all-Port Moresby Telikom National Soccer League final after Eastern Star and defending champions MRDC Hekari won their respective semi-final matches at Lloyd Robson Oval on Saturday.
In the first semi-final, Eastern Star put on a strong come-from-behind performance to shatter NBS Tukoko University’s hopes 3-1.
The visitors from Lae led 1-0 at halftime.
They continued to dictate terms in the second half until Star mounted pressure which saw them scoring in the 65th minute through Solomon Islander Karol Kakate.
The goal lifted the Port Moresby-based Milne Bay franchise and put them back in the game.
Unitech, led by Sowera Guti and Leslie Nate in the midfield, Ila Ilaitia Jr and defenders Francis Yasasa plus striker Timas Yawaka continued to launch raids into Star’s territory but were repelled by defenders Cyril Muta, Jeremy Yasasa, Joshua Niebo and Timothy Joe.
Star then shifted into high gear to see flanker Fabian Bagi giving them a 2-1 lead.
Minutes before full-time, a blunder by Unitech goalkeeper Douglas Kaka gifted Stars striker Kakate an easy set up for midfielder Michael Foster to put the issue beyond doubt.
In the second semi-final, Hekari had to tame a determined Besta PNG United early on before outclassing the U21 side 5-1.
Midfielder Malakai Tiwa’s goal in the 20th minute was not enough as Besta continued to question Hekari’s ability despite a 1-0 lead.
The PNG football academy players were rewarded for their enterprise with a goal to Jamal Seeto early in the second half and Besta continued to make the reigning champions work over time.
Sensing the game was reachoing a critical period,Hekari coach Jerry Allen injected fresh legs in Samuel Kini and Wira Wama 15 minutes into the second half.
The Southern Highlands combination of Kini and Wama worked wonders for Hekari team with Tiwa scoring his second from a David Muta corner kick while Kini and Wama exchanged short passes to see Kini extended the lead 3-1.
Wama then slipped past the Besta defence to fire home a goal for a 4-1 lead and all but end Besta’s hopes.
Kini picked up his second goal for the afternoon to seal the match 5-1.
Besta United will play Tukoko University in the third place playoff.
The NSL champions are in line to earn the Telikom Cup plus K60,000 while runners-up gets K25,000, third place K15,000 and fourth place will collect K10,000.