Lae retain NSL title

The victory came as somewhat of a shock to some as a week earlier Hekari had outclassed their rivals 5-0 to claim the minor premiership for a record 11th time.
Peter Gunemba’s side proved doubters wrong with an inspired performance with the coach quick to credit the entire team for a performance which made it difficult for Hekari to establish a rythym.
He added that doing the business in the domestic league with a 100 per cent Papua New Guinea line-up made the win extra special.
“This is somehting we dreamed about doing and emphasised throughout our preparations so the result was definitely sweet, with our only overseass player Joachim Waroi, watching from the sideline,” Gunemba says.
Captain Raymond Gunemba’s man-of-the-match performance was key to the victory, with the striker netting both goals to end Hekari’s dreams of the double.
The first half of the match ended scoreless, putting pressure on both sides to step up in the second period in order to gain the edge.
The visitors from Morobe Province did just that as Gunemba curved the ball in from a corner kick for the opener before intercepting a loose pass at the back from Sammy Campbell to Tekieta Teumeura to slice the ball past Leslie Kalai in goal for Hekari.
Hekari had their share of chances but both Tommy Semmy and the prolific Koriak Upaiga were kept well at bay by the Dwellers defence.
Hekari coach Jerry Allen congratulated the Dwellers on their well deserved victory, conceding that they were the better side on the day.
“Lae played very well today. Despite the loss I must commend my side for their efforts in this match and throughout the 2015-16 NSL season.”
Team manager Vonnie Kapi Natto says it was disappointing to see her side go down in such an important encounter, but cretided the Dwellers ability to overcome the eight-time champions away from home.
“This is something we don’t want to repeat at the OFC Champions League touranment,” Kapi Natto says.
“Professionalism and consistency are the cornerstones of Hekari’s success over the years and we will strive to maintain that standard.”
Both Lae City Dwellers and Hekari United will now be turning their attention to the 2016 OFC Champions League with both sides due in Auckland for the annual tournament which kicks off on 8 April at QBE Stadium.
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