The National, Monday 19th May 2014
By LARRY ANDREW
NEWCOMER Lae made history by qualifying for the Telikom National Soccer League grand final in its debut season.
The Zilu Scientific/Panamex-sponsored franchise overcame a strong challenge from Oro to win 3-2 in a hotly contested semi-final played at Sir Ignatius Kilage stadium on Saturday.
Both teams drew 2-2 at the end of regulation time and went into 10 minutes each-way of ectra time.
Lae took their chance to snatch the win from Oro through some indecisive refereeing.
In the main game of the double header, reigning champions Hekari United were stretched to the limit by a determined Morobe United outfit before winning 2-0.
The Gigira Laitepo-sponsored side held Hekari scoreless in the first half but could not sustain the intensity to see Joachim Waroi and Lae’s prodigal son, Raymond Gunemba fire the Reds to a ninth consecutive decider.
Lae takes on Hekari in the grand final.
Lae’s victory was not given on a golden platter as they had to withstand a strong challenge from Oro in a game which was played on a wet surface.
The Port Moresby-based Oro franchise with captain Gary Moka, Allen Koroko and David Hauka laying the foundation in the front found a hole in Lae’s defence for Leana Geno to score for a 1-0 lead in which they hang onto the half time break.
Oro continued to apply pressure in the second half but Lae midifelder Kohu Liem combined with teammate Emmanuel Simon to wrest some momentum back.
Their efforts was paid off when Goroba Tawa took a penalty for the equaliser.
With the clock ticking down Lae’s Jacob Max extend the lead to 2-1 but Oro hit back quickly Moka to send the game into extra time.
Max scored the match-winner for a 3-2 advantage but Oro came back with an equalizer by Moka which referee Mairi Woni disallowed after consulting with the linesman.