LAE lead group B of the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League after doubles from skipper Raymond Gunemba, Nigel Dabinyaba and Emmanuel Simon saw City beat Lautoka 7-0 in Vanuatu yesterday.
City, who drew 3-3 with Henderson Eels in their opener on Saturday, are the only group-B side with a win after round two. Yesterday’s other group match saw the Eels draw 2-2 with hosts Malampa Revivors at Luganville Soccer City Stadium.
The top-two sides in each of the four Champions groups advance to the quarterfinals with the grand prize being a berth at this year’s Fifa Club World Cup.
Kumul Petroleum National Soccer League champions City saw forward Emmanuel Airem dropping to the backline and Ecuadorian pair Icaza Vergara and Abdias Aguirre joining Gunemba and Dabinyaba up front.
It was the first time for the four to play together up front and coach Peter Gunemba’s gamble paid off with five first-half goals through Dabinyaba (23rd minute), Raymond Gunemba (36th), Emmanuel Simon (39th and 44th) and Obert Bika (first-half stoppage time).
Dabinyaba opened the scoring after he played a delightful one-two with Aguirre to catch the Lautoka defence napping.
The game was in the balance until midfielder Jacob Sabua’s cut-back found veteran forward Gunemba who slotted home past Lautoka goalkeeper Liam Anderson.
City were home when substitute Simon scored his double and Obert Bika found the back of the net to give the Lae Biscuit Company-sponsored side a 5-0 lead at halftime.
Lautoka couldn’t find any fluidity in their game and were guilty of regular turnovers which allowed City to drive the nail in the coffin through Gunemba and Dabinyaba.
Lae manager John Golupau said the result was a big improvement from their opening draw.
“In the first game, we made a lot of mistakes that we worked on in training,” he said.
“We came into this game well prepared.”
Luganville turned on another hot day and Golupau said his players were comfortable in the heat.
“We trained in the sun and they are well prepared to play in this kind of weather,” he said.
City meet Malampa in their final group match on Friday. The other match will see the Eels take on Lautoka.