PNG National Soccer League: Lae City confirms minor-premiership title as battle for last semi-final spot heats up

The final spot for the semi-finals of PNG National Soccer League is still uncertain as three teams are battling for the fourth place in the national league. Differently, Lae City, Hekari United and Vitiaz United are already confirmed in the decisive stage of the competition – but this weekend we had the confirmation of Lae City as the minor-premiership winners and also Hekari United’s spot in the next OFC Champions League as Vitiaz United was surprised by Gulf Komara in Port Moresby.

The first match of the day saw Tusbab Stallions needing a win against Morobe Wawens in Lae to confirm their fourth spot. Unfortunately for the team coached by Rachel Wadunah, Francis Isom opened the scoreline for Wawens – but minutes later the youngster Fernando Kuliau scored his first in the season an equalised for Stallions. The result of the match ended up in an 1-1 draw, as Boungainville could not beat Kutubu in the process, the Madang-based side continues ranked fourth in the process, but with the same number of points of Gulf Komara and just one point away FC Boungainville in the standings.

In Port Moresby, Hekari United confirmed their OFC Champions League spot against Morobe United as the important Raymond Gunemba returned to the team after recovering from injury. Unfortuantely for the Morobeans, an own goal from Valentine Nelson put Hekari ahead at the 27th minute of play. The game was very well contested by both sides as Hekari could only confirm their win in the final stages of the game: Nigel Dabinyaba scored from the penalty spot to double the lead at the 76th minute, six minutes later the young Joseph Joe finished a good play from Gunemba to confirm the 3-0 advantage for Hekari United. Dominic Onea was able to pull one back for Morobe United in the injury time, but it proved to be only a consolation goal for his side.

Nigel Dabinyaba and Michael Foster celebrate one of Hekari’s goals – PNGFA Media

In Lae both FC Kutubu and FC Bouganville were unable to score; a 0-0 draw between them kept Kutubu at the bottom of the standings as FCB lost a golden opportunity to enter for the first time in the season the top-four. Despite not being able to win, Boungainville is just one point away Stallions at the fourth – keeping their chances alive to qualify for the semi-final stage of PNG National Soccer League.

The last two matches of the day were played at PNG Football Stadium in Port Moresby; Vitiaz United was once again stunned, this time by Gulf Komara. A very important win for the team coached by David Aua that keep them in the run for a semi-final spot. The second defeat in a row for Vitiaz keep them at third in the league – qualified for the semi-finals, but they were not able to get a spot at the next OFC Champions League. Komara’s goal was scored by the good Ilagi Geno, the 1-0 win is very important for the team as they head to their final game in the regular season tied in points with Tusbab Stallions.

Lae City needed to battle against the surprising Star Mountain; Emmanuel Airem and Jacob Sabua scored the two goals of Lae City in Port Moresby, but Pettyshen Elijah scored for STM. The 2-1 win for the Bob Morris-coached side confirmed their minor-premiership win as they have 12 goals in goal advantage ahead of the second place team Hekari United.

Lae City confirmed their favouritism against Star Mountain – PNGFA Media

You can check the updated standings, full results and current top scorers of the current edition of the PNG National Soccer League by visting our session of the competition. Don’t forget to vote for the best players of the regular season of the competiton in our open voting OFCe Awards!

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