Hekari and Bara crowned kings and queens

Defending champions Hekari United have picked up their fifth National Soccer League title in a row while Bara FC have taken out the inaugural Women's National Soccer League.

Miriam Lanta, right, takes on the Uni Inter defence for Bara.

Hekari had a disappointing O-League campaign, a competition they were also the defending champions of, but did not let that affect their confidence domestically and picked up yet another title on the weekend with a 4-0 win over Eastern Stars.

The match was an even contest until midway through the first half when Eastern Stars player Fabian Bagi was dismissed after he was adjudged to have elbowed Hekari defender Andrew Lepani.

The sending off was a major blow for Eastern as they had dominated much of the opening 20 minutes but struggled to maintain that control with 10 men. Hekari used their numerical advantage to outflank the rattled Eastern defence but failed to find the net in the first half and Eastern were still right in the game when the halftime whistle was blown.

Also making life difficult for Stars was the fact that key striker Raymond Gunemba was coming back from a three-week injury lay off and found it hard to make the most of what little possession he had.

Hekari looked a much more assured side during the opening period of the second spell and it was clear that they were going to make the most of the extra man and give the Eastern defence plenty to worry about.

Winger Ian Yanum finally broke the deadlock by sending over a cross that proved too hot to handle for Stars goalkeeper Richard Lapan and ended up in the net. Malakai Tiwa then made it two before Cyril Muta brought him down and allowed the Fijian midfielder to score his second from the penalty spot.

Wira Wama later helped himself to Hekari's fourth goal of the afternoon to wrap up the comprehensive win and earn another trophy for the Port Moresby side's cabinet.

The Bara women were also celebrating after seeing off the challenge of Uni Inter in a thrilling final that was eventually settled on penalties.

The action-packed match ended in a 3-3 draw and extra time failed to produce any further goals. Bara defender Rose Ben stepped up to become the hero in the shoot-out, dispatching the decisive penalty past Uni goalkeeper Linda Bunaga to finally separate the teams.

Lae-based Bara were without the services of experienced campaigners Edna John Thomas and Jacinta Langa, who were withdrawn from the squad due to travel problems in their preparation.

Assistant coach Susan Watpore was delighted with the performances of the young players brought in to replace them.

"I am very happy with the girls as they showed good discipline," she says. "We had to hold on with Thomas and Langa sidelined but the youngsters deserve all the praise."

Uni assistant coach Leslie Babaga says both sides played well and had their chances but admits Bara were fully deserving of the win.

For more on Papua New Guinea football go to www.pngfootball.com.pg

Updated On Wednesday, April 06, 2011