OFC, By Benjamin Coonan: Vanuatu striker Richard Iwai sounded his arrival in the Queensland Premier League on Saturday night, by taking man of the match honours for Mitchelton in their 4-1 rout of local rivals Brisbane City.
Iwai’s influential showing was best illustrated when the lanky marksman netted Mitchelton’s third goal, showing off his gymnastic ability when celebrating.
The win puts Mitchelton into second place in the QPL, a remarkable achievement for just their first season in Queensland’s top flight in their 84-year existence.
Whilst Iwai got through the entire ninety minutes, fellow countryman Etienne Mermer was not called upon due an injury sustained the previous week.
However, it is expected that the striker will be available for next Saturday’s top of the table clash with Eastern Suburbs, who trail Mitchelton by goal difference only.
Also in the QPL, Papua New Guinean midfielder Alex Davani played a full game for Taringa Rovers, who went down 2-1 to bottom placed North Star on Saturday evening.
Davani, still at the tender age of 18, has been a permanent fixture in coach Allan Waller’s plans for 2004 and will be hoping for a change in fortunes shortly.
Taringa’s loss at the weekend has left the Brisbane club rooted to the bottom of the QPL ladder.
The Rovers take on Toowoomba Raiders at home next Sunday and will be looking to register their first win of their 2004 campaign.
Down south to Melbourne and Samoan goalkeeper Pasi Schwalger’s Preston Lions were upset 2- 0 at home by Bulleen Zebras in the Victorian Premier League.
Over 2000 Preston faithful were on hand at Flying Lions Stadium to witness the loss, which has seen the Lions slip into fifth position after seven rounds, having led the competition coming into the match.
Schwalger did not have a night to remember, first bringing down a player to concede a penalty and then prematurely coming off his line to allow Zebra’s striker Peter Kakos to walk in his second goal of the evening.
The Lions face sixth placed Frankston Pines away from home next week and will be hoping for a return to the winner’s circle after suffering their first defeat of 2004.