THE midfield partnership of skipper David Muta and Samuel Kini proved a lethal weapon for Hekari United FC as they brushed aside a fired-up Gigira Laitepo Morobe 3-1 to win their opening match in the Telikom National Soccer League competition in Port Moresby.
Muta and Kini formed combination oiled well in the engine room for the team’s offensive and defensive game pattern.
Kini got a call in the first 11 pushing Pita Bolaitoga to stopper to replace his Fijian compatriot Lorima Dau, who is nursing an injury.
It was a gamble coach Tommy Mana took in making a minor reshuffle that paid dividends for franchise owner John Kapi-Natto.
Hekari wasted no time in mounting pressure and attacked Morobe territory continuously.
But a solid defence by Morobe trio of Mathew Yang, Gorobe Tawa, Manse Addi and Rodney Talau diffused any scoring opportunities by Hekari.
In one such move, Hekari’s Fijian striker Tuimaci Manuda finally found the net to put Hekari in front 1-0 after his two early attempts went begging.
The visitors had their fair share of chances but striker Hans Mambare could not find the target.
Morobe midfielders Essa Nasa, Eluid Fugre and Goroba Tawa provided all the necessary support but to no avail.
And when Morobe regrouped to launch another attack, Hekari’s Solomon Islands striker Joachim Waroi did a copy book bicycle kick to surprise the Morobe defenders and goalkeeper David Kaura to extend the lead 2-0 till the break.
In the second half, Hekari lifted the momentum to see Kema Jack connect a clear and powerful header from an Andrew Lepani cross which deflected from Morobe goalkeeper to lead 3-0.
Morobe, sensing the game was slipping away, saw striker-cum-midfielder Armstrong Peka caught the Hekari defenders nappping with a lob which substitute Jeremy Yasasa who blasted past goalkeeper Desmond Waluka by surprise for a consoltation goal.
The score could have been bigger had Waroi converted two good chances.
In the earlier matches, Stars beat 10-man University Inter FC 2-0 after sweeper Richard Pono was sent off for early showers while CMSS Tigers went on a goal scoring spree thrashing NSL newcomers University Lae 6-2.
Tigers flanker Kavo Mante scored a single while striker Raymond Gunemba who put on the man-of-the-match performance collected the trifecta and substitute Ian Yanum collected a double.
However, when an own goal by Tigers Frank Tulem saved University an embarrassment while another goal came from flanker Joe Ben to save them from embarrassment.
In Madang, re-admitted Gelle Hills came out flying over Niupetro Fox 2-1 at Laiwaden Oval.
The unofficial ladder: CMSS Tigers 3, Hekari United 3, Gelle Hills 3, Eastern Star 3, Gigira Laitepo Morobe 0, Niupetro Fox 0, University Lae 0 and Besta United 0.