The completion of the second round of Telekom S-League saw the current title holders Solomon Warriors field a very different starting team than usual against the good side of Marist FC. The team coached by Selson Molea could not count on players such as Dennis Ifunaoa and Tigi Molea for their debut in the season – as Warriors had a bye week in the first week of football in the national league.
Patrick Miniti’s side Marist had a clear strategy against Warriors: counter-attack. The former OFC Champions League semi-finalists counted on the pace of players such as Abraham Iniga upfront to harm the current champions in their fast transitions to attack. Warriors led by John Alick in the midfield, created some opportunities in the first half, but could open the scoreline. Good combinations in the midfield between Alick and other two important midfielders Alwin Hou and Judd Molea were always dangerous for Marist defense led by John Aeta, but Marist managed to keep the danger out of the box.
Warriors first choice goalkeeper Timothy Mae’arasia was forced to make interventions – the pacy Dalton Saeni was dangerous in the left flank, but rarely could not connect with Iniga upfront and create goalscoring chances -, but Marist had their moments in the first half as their counter-attacking strategy seemed to work in the first 45 minutes.
As Warriors managed to control the tempo of the game in the first half, the team captained by Haddis Aengari decided to put more intensity in the final 45 to get a much needed goal. Warriors saw Henderson Eels smash Isabel United and Laugu United in their both first two matches in the season – the current champions did not want to see another title contenders rising up, they needed to win.
Marist was dangerous in counter-attack, but unfortunately for the team coached by Patrick Miniti, a late goal confirmed the favouritism of Warriors. After a corner, a pinball inside the box ended up in front of Solomon Islands international Haddis Aengari that with a header put the ball in the nets already in the final stages of the match. The 1-0 lead was sustained by Solomon Warriors until the final whistle giving the champions a win in their debut in the 2020 Telekom S-League.
Warriors will have another important clash in the weekend as they play their second match in the league against Kossa. You can see the update standings of Telekom S-League by clicking here.