By HENRY MORABANG
SOLOMON Island import Alick Maemae scored a brace while Tuimasi Manuca and Joachim Waroi also chipped in for a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Group B leaders Tafea of Vanuatu at the lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby on Saturday.
The win has propelled Hekari into second spot after Lautoka thrashed winless Marist FC 3-0 yesterday at Churchill Park in Lautoka to grab the number one spot on Group B point’s ladder.
Maemae playing in the midfielder was the answer to Hekari United’s lack of penetration in the previous O-League matches and mesmerised the Tafea defence
Maemae was one of the five Solomon Island internationals called up to boost Hekari’s campaign in the O-League.
The others were Henry Fa’arodo, Gideon Omokiri, Stanley Waita and Edward Ngaitin
All accept Edward Ngaitin, who was on the reserve bench in their first match, played very well and contributed to the four goals.
Playing on the flanks, Fa’arado finished up goaless but his clever footwork and passes entertained the crowd while Maemae was the pick of the bunch as he slammed two goals to put the PNG champions on course for victory.
After skipper David Muta set Tuimasi Manuca for the first goal in the 14th minute, Maemae showed why he was brought here scoring two goals in eight minutes to blow away a shell-shocked Tafea.
The 3-0 deficit was too much for Tafea to fight back.
In the second half, bench player Joachim Waroi, who went in for striker Kema Jack put on a sizzling performance to slice through to Tafea defence for the fourth goal. Tafea sensing the game was drifting away, rushed in their star Richard Iwai which saw a lift in their game but poor last pass options near Hekari’s box denied them any chance.
Tafea’s midfield in Francis Sakama, Moise Poide, skipper and sweeper Freddy Vava, fullback Samson Obed and striker Jean Nako Naprapol tried their best for the team but could not find the net.
Hekari assistant coach Tommy Mana was pleased with the results as his players stuck to the game plan.
Captain David Muta said his boys were instructed to close Tafea down and counter attack to score goals.
“We did exactly what we were told and won the match. The inclusion of five international players from Solomon Islands was the tonic to our attack,” he said.
Tafea coach Graham Demas said Hekari United deserved the win because there were the better team on the day.
He said his team would have to work hard in the remaining O-League matches.
Tafea captain Freddy Vava said he was disappointed that his players did not use the PRL stadium for prior training which gave them hard time during the actual game.
However he admitted that Hekari deserved the win.
Hekari will play Lautoka for the number one spot in group B on March 7 while meet Marist FC at Lawson Tama stadium in Honiara on March 28 for the final games.
The PNG champion must win the remaining matches to consolidate their position in Group B. The points ladder after last weekend’s game, Lautoka on 8, Hekari 7, Tafea 7 and Marist 0.
Meanwhile in Group a Auckland City defeated Tahiti’s AS Manu Ura 2-0 in Papeete yesterday. Auckland remains on top spot in Group A with 10 points followed by fellow Kiwi side Waitakere Utd (5), AS Magenta (2) of New Caledonia and AS Manu Ura (1).