REIGNING champions, MRDC Hekari United FC and Besta PNG United FC kicked off their Telikom National Soccer League season on a high note with strong performances on Saturday.
In Port Moresby, Hekari, with the aid of their two new Fijian recruites – Malakai Tiwa (midfielder) and Alvin Singh (central defender) – combined to belt Lae’s Gigira Laitepo 6-2.
Tiwa complemented David Muta in the midfield – something that was lacking in the first O-League match against Amical FC of Vanuatu – controlling Hekari’s attack and defence.
Capitalising on an unsettled Gigira defence in the opening minutes of play, Tiwa hit the first goal of the match in the 2nd minute after good lead-up work from his compatriot Tuimaci Manuca.
Alvin had a stroll in the park when he tapped in a sitter giving the defending champions a 2-0 lead.
Ian Yanum brought Hekari’s tally to three after good set-up by striker Kema Jack.
Gigira’s African striker Paschal Wojen hit back to narrow lead to 3-1.
Wojen’s goal was classy when he received the ball from Eliude Fugre from a penalty and he easily volleyed over Hekari goalkeeper Gure Gabina for their first goal of the afternoon.
The goal lifted Gigira’s spirits but Alvin picked up his second goal of the half from a Yanum corner kick to extend the lead 4-1.
Morobe’s recruit Bruce Kusunan, formerly of CMSS Tigers, scored after a Hekari defensive lapse to bring the score to 4-2.
At the break Hekari coach Tommy Mana urged his boys to cut down their errors and to close out the match.
Gigira coach Jack Jonathan urged his boys to hang in as they clearly lacked match fitness and conditioning.
Hekari finished strongly with goals to David Taro (87th minute) and Tau Winnie (90th minute) for a comfortable four goal victory.
In Madang, the PNG U20 team sounded the warning that they are no easy beats drawing with Madang Fox 2-2 at Laiwaden Oval while Petro Souths held NGB Tukoko to a 0-0 draw.
The points ladder: Hekari 3, Besta 1, Madang 1, Tukoko 1, Souths 1, Gigira 0 and Eastern Star 0.