By HENRY MORABANG
CMSS Tigers bounced back into the winners circle after beating Eastern Star 2-1 in the main game of the triple header of the Telikom National Soccer League in Port Moresby on Saturday.
Up and coming striker Bruce Kusunan is fast becoming a Mr Fix-it for the Tigers with a goal in the opening half after Raymond Gunemba failed to produce his best.
Kusunan was well supported by Ian Yanum from the flank and versatile Frank Tulem, who took total control of the midfield, setting the pace for the CMSS-backed football team.
Sweeper Richard Pono, until replaced in the second half, along with Ila Ilaitia Jr put up a good exhibition in the backline clogging the traffic for Star striker Gaius Kasou to deny him any real scoring opportunities.
A resolute defence was what clinched it for the Tigers and keeps them in contention for the finals.
Eastern Star had their share of the opportunities to level the score but their strikers could not find the net.
Star’s players Sato Modogai, Paul Wale, Adrian Komu, Fabian Bagi, Timothy Joe and Russel Murray tried desperately for goal but to no avail.
Tigers led 1-0 at half time.
In the second half, Tigers coach Joowan Jung maintained faith in his starting 11 players returning them back on the field. Joowan’s boys started to change tactics to use outside flanks which saw a good combination from Ian Yanum who back heeled to Daniel Joe show bulleted the ball pass Stars goalkeeper Richard Lapan for second goal.
The goal has put Tigers in the comfort zone until Stars opted to make change to bring in Boda Bomana and winger Ben Max.
Tigers made the bad decision to remove Pono which resulted in good ball from midfield to flank to find ever-ready Max to slam their goal 2-1, the decision Tigers supporters find hard to comprehend.
However, Tigers had a chance to extend the lead when goalkeeper Lapan tackles Frank Tulem without the ball in the penalty box. Tulem who took the penalty could not get the ball pass Lapan and the score remain 2-1.
In other matches, Esiloan University InterFC paid the price for intimidation and aggressive football by going down to discipline Hekari United team 2-0.
University player such as striker Ben Lakasa should know better than any other players of the field that his cheeky elbow will do harm to his team.
Hekari’s goal came from Benjamin Mela who sliced the ball into net while Alick Maemae’s penalty found towering Tuimaci Manuca for the header and winning goal of the match.
In the opening match, Besta United led by little midfield maestro Emmanuel Simon gave a scare to Gelle Hills before ended up with a 2-2 draw.
United set the pace with two quick goals from Troy Gunemba and Richard Baro in the first half but failed maintain the stamina to end with a draw. Goals from skipper David Taro and substitute Jay Kepi has brought smile to the faces of Wesley Waiwai and his assistant Lua Vagi.