The National, Monday May 18th, 2015
FLYING foxes were seen taking to the ground around the Laiwaden Oval to join the celebrations as Madang shocked reigning premiers Hekari 3-2 in the Telikom National Soccer League’s second semi-final in Madang on Saturday.
The celebrations went late into the night as the town and fans celebrated their historic moment of football in the league.
Madang will go down in the record books as the first team to end Hekari’s dominance in the semi-professional competition.
Hekari is a club that has used a successful blueprint to win nine premierships and as many minor titles but that great run came to an end over the weekend.
Madang were unfancied for the upset — to say the least.
The Flying Foxes suffered two losses to the Reds in the regular season, with the second one an 8-1 thrashing in Port Moresby last month.
The Francis Moiyap-coached side had to invoke the spirit of David to take on this Goliath — and to their credit, they did.
The one-goal win surprised many and was done in front of a crowd of several thousand at Laiwaden Oval.
Moiyap said the side made it a point to ignore the media hype and preferred to focus on their game.
“We prepared well for this match and the victory was a bonus,” Moiyap said.
He gave credit to Hekari who came back strongly in the second half but ran out of time.
Hekari’s Paul Isorua commended Madang for their history-making win, saying his team tried its best but it was not their day. Despite being disappointed with the result, he said franchise owners John Kapi Natto and Vonnie Kapi Natto rang from US, where they were attending a family commitment, to congratulate Madang.
Madang got their campaign off to the best possible start, when an Alwin Komolong cross saw Vanya Malagian score the opening goal after a little more than 10 minutes.
The homeside kept the pressure on with a follow-up goal — this time to Sammy Hiob — to break out to a 2-0 lead. Hekari came back in typical fashion with goal-scoring ace Tommy Semmy slamming one in for the visitors.
Madang had the last say in the half with Malagian getting his double for the Flying Foxes to take an imposing 3-1 lead into the halftime break.
In the second half, as expected, Hekari went up a gear but were foiled by some desperate scrambling defence and numbers Madang employed in their defensive lines.