PORT MORESBY; A virtuoso performance from ace striker Kema Jack has sparked listless HEKARI United FC into life in the PNGFA Telikom NSL Cup after Jack – the man from Kaparoko
village in the Central Province – opened rattled off a career-best four goals to help beat Madang Fox 5-1.
Jack, who won the PNGFA Telikom NSL Cup Golden Boot top award last season, is back on track again to take the lead with eight goals from Besta Madang Fighters FC striker Niel
The weekend however belonged to the Hekari “marksman”.
Jack was a nightmare for Fox goal-keeper Ludwig Bai.
The striker opened the goal-scoring fest with a header in the 35th minute from a cross from Solomon Islands international Jack Samani.
Jack then set up Samani for the second-goal five minutes later.
Madang Fox had numerous opportunities to reel in Hekari United, but the lack of finishing off let them down badly after they enjoyed a wealth of possession.
To their efforts’ the Fox defence held up well through Raymond Bailey, Jonah Malus, Alan Lalos and Gabriel Kambe, to keep Jack and Abraham Iniga at bay for the remainder of the
The second-half was a different story, with Kema Jack moving into fifth gear to terrorise the Fox defence.
Jack’s predatory instinct was finally unleashed as the goal-scoring machine made up for lost time and a form that until now has eluded him this season.
It was a joy to watch as Jack blasted the back of the net at the 64th, 70th and 84th minute to ruthlessly dismantle the hopes of Madang.
With the Fox finding it difficult to penetrate, Hekari sweeper Brian Tuhiana provided them a glimmer of hope with an own goal at the 77th minute.
Tensions started to hot up with Fox aggressively trying to get back into the game, however they failed to finish off again with opportunities from striker Richard Lange, replacement
Billy Karitamol and Malus all agonisingly missing their target.
Hekari had full control of the game with mid-fielders Andrew Lepani, Samani, Benzamin Mela and David Muta dominating proceedings.
Hekari replacements Erickson Komeng, Kennedy Yori and Lawrence Moses continued the domination to the final whistle.
PNGFA Telikom NSL Cup Man of the Match points were awarded to Kema Jack (3pts), Tuhiana (2pts) and Adrian Komu from Fox (1pt).
At Madang’s Laiwaden oval, NSL match commissioner Peter Angasa confirmed the man of the match points to Highlanders Ian Yanum (3 pts), Highlanders’ goal-keeper Anton Pipi (2 pts) and
Madang Besta Fighters defender Tarsciscius Mandarip (1 pt).
Meanwhile, Gelle Hills striker Tau Winnie’s 40th minute goal was enough to secure a much needed win for his team in the last game of round one of PNGFA NSL Telikom NSL Cup.
The Hills edged out competition leaders Tuguba Laitepo Morobe Kumuls 1-0 before a sell out home crowd last Saturday at LFA Park oval.
Tau’s goal came five minutes before the break when the home side defence broke down.
Hills assistant coach Raymond Nasa gave credit to his players for their effort to win the game.“I think the credit must go to the boys as they played well today”.
“We performed according to our game plan,” Nasa said.
“I am impressed with the victory as we should finish top completing round one of the competition and prepared for the second round which will be more competitive,” said Nasa.
Morobe Kumuls coach Max Foster said: “We had several chances but failed to score goals,” he said.
He blamed poor finishing up front despite opportunities.
Kumuls had several chances but wide midfielder Michael Foster, striker Raymond Gunemba and Clifford Wate failed to turn them into goals.
Wate and Gunemba were well marked in their attempts to take shots at the goal mouth.
It was Kumuls second loss at home after going down to Welgris Highlanders earlier in the competition.
A brilliant build up in the midfield five minutes before the break found unmarked Tau to score the goal out of Kumuls keeper David Peter’s reach.
The opening passage of the match was scoreless until Kumuls midfield department lapsed to see the goal scored for the visitors taking a 1– 0 lead into the break.
The Kumuls sensing trouble came back hard into the final half with workaholic midfielder Richard Daniels leading the assault.
But Daniels’ effort went begging with little support given by team mates.
Many of the players were not in their usual form to assist Daniels.
Despite Daniels effort, striker Raymond Gunemba and Clifford Wate with substitute flanker Ken Gule and Billy Namuesh had their share fighting for Kumuls.
Young Gunemba and Wate were marked well by the opponents to score goals while Michael Foster and Guti Sowera did little to assist in both attack and defence.
Goalkeeper David Aua, defenders Enos Iamo, Jr Mario, Jeremy Masalo and Tau Nius played brilliantly in the backline.
Welgris Highlanders had goalkeeper Anthon Bipi to thank for its 2-1 victory over Besta Madang Fighters in PNGFA Telikom NSL Cup action after Bipi saved two almost certain goals, one
of which was a blistering free kick from a handy position right in front of the edge of the penalty box.
Bipi was outstanding for Welgris Highlanders throughout a torrid afternoon for the youngster who set about defusing a volley of shots at the goal from Fighters strikers, led by
international Niel Hans, Karkar import Robin Malwak and Jude Onasu.
Bipi’s saving of Madang’s first of two free kicks by Hans in front of the goal mouth stunned everyone but was welcomed by the Highlanders outfit as it proved the killer punch for
their victory in the end.
Bipi’s coach, Pius Letenge was over the moon for the sterling efforts of the young ex-Tugubu Laitepo Blue Kumuls custodian.
Opposing assistant coach, Bonny Hans Pongo admitted to Bipi’s stellar performance saying the Fighters missed 14 scoring opportunities, many of which were prevented by the Mt Hagen
Pongo blamed their loss on a massive injury toll of 10 regular players, eight of whom were injured during the local derby against Madang Fox two weeks ago.
He said a team struggles to win with such an injury toll to a majority of the key players.
But he admitted the game on the whole was played well by both teams and Fighters could ha
ve won if they converted the 14 missed opportunities and if there was more cohesiveness in
Letenge on the other hand credited their victory a solid preparation.
He said his team were psyched up to win at the Fighters home turf and be in contention for the top four position and be in the finals.
Letenge boldly declared that Welgris Highlanders would like to re-enter the top four in Round Two which begins on January 26, after the Christmas break.
He said the team is focused on this mission and they delivered on Saturday scoring two goals in either half through Peter Tawelo and Andrew Apo respectively.
He said along with Bipi, those who really stood out in the victory includedKoriak Upaiga, Ian Yanump, Bonny Mathew and Paddy Reuben.
Fighters were left scoreless until a penalty shot right in front of the goal mouth which was successfully converted by Stanis Gifinu immediately after Apo’s goal in the dying minutes
of the game.
Fighters led by Hans and Malwak came home strongly in the last 10 minutes but the Mount Hagen boys held them at bay until the final hooter.
Both Letenge and Pongo conceded weaknesses in their mid-field area and vowed to work on them before Round Two resumes.
PNGFA TELIKOM NSL CUP
GOLDEN BOOT AWARD
– Standings 07.01.08
Story courtesy of PNGFA Media Officer Thomas Kambi.