Lae City FC: Papua New Guinea football kings

Lae City FC remains unstoppable in Papua New Guinea; this Saturday (04th Feb) the team coached by Bob Morris once again celebrated the title of the PNG National Soccer League after beating Port Moresby’s Hekari United on the penalty shoout-out. Lae defended their crown in a very lively game that saw them coming from behind to celebrate the national league at Sir John Guise Stadium.

Lae City players celebrate the title – SOKA PNG

Ati Kepo scored for Hekari at the 13th minute of play with an individual effort; beating the defenders with his pace and sending it past Charlie Lepani to score the first of the game. Lae City was only able to level the match with a marvelous long-range free-kick finish from Kapuls members Alwin Komolong at the 71st minute. The game finished in an 1-1 draw, forcing both sides to play extra-time – after the extra 30 minutes nothing separated the two sides and the game needed to be decided on the penalty shoot-out.

Experienced players Alwin Komolong from Lae City and Hekari’s team captain Daniel Joe scored the first penalties for their teams. All kicks were scored until Lae City’s veteran goalkeeper Ronald Warisan – that subbed Lepani in the second-half – stepped-up and defended the last kick from Hekari. Lae City’s captain Emmanuel Simon converted the final penalty-kick for his team as celebration erupted in the stadium in favour of the Morobeans. Mancii, as Emmanuel Simon is nicknamed, was also chosen as the best player of the match. You can watch the highlights of the match by clicking here.

The exact moment when Warisan saves the penalty – KingPrins

Lae City is now seven-times Papua New Guinea national champions – seven-times in a row. The last time the Morobean side won the leage was in 2020 after a 1-0 win over Vitiaz United. In the 2021 season the national league was abandoned due COVID-19 restrictions – at that time Lae City and Hekari United were at the top of the table of its conferences and ended-up playing a playoff to decide which team would represent Papua New Guinea at the OFC Champions League in 2022.

Lae Natives, also from Lae, won the 3rd place-match against Gulf Komara by 1-0, claiming so the bronze-medal in the national league. Both Lae teams emerging victorious in the two decisive matches create a scenario of football dominance of Lae over Port Moresby currently in Papua New Guinea.

Lae City and Hekari United will meet once again this year; as per the OFC Champions League regulations, the top-two teams of the country must decide which of them will represent the nation at the competition. Thus, the finalists of the season will also have a playoff-like confrontation to determine the PNG’s representative at the O-League.


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