Vanuatu’s Galaxy FC and Papua New Guinea’s Lae City FC have battled out an entertaining 2-2 draw in the opening game of the OFC Champions League 2022 in Auckland
Two own goals in the first-half at Ngahue Reserve and goals from, Kensi Tangis and Jonathan Allen, in the second period meant the points were shared in the Group A fixture.
The opening match of the tournament started scrappily but after both teams adapted to the playing surface at the OFC Home of Football the game sprung into life in chaotic fashion.
Lae City first had a golden opportunity to take the lead but Alwin Komolong’s headed effort ricocheted off the post before Galaxy goalkeeper Joshua Willie produced a remarkable reaction save to push away Bruce Tiampo’s follow-up.
Galaxy punished Lae City’s inability to take their chance moments later. Andre Batick’s cross was fired back across goal by Joe Moses, cannoning off Lae City defender Felix Komolong into his own net.
Galaxy’s advantage did not hold for long as they swiftly returned the favour of an own goal to their opponents. Simon’s dangerous corner-kick delivery evaded the Galaxy goalie before bobbling in off the helpless Dondy Kileteir.
Just before the break Lae City thought another own goal had given them the lead, after Willie flapped Bika’s cross into his own net. However, the match officials judged the ball to have already gone out of play.
Galaxy came out firing in the second-half and their increased intensity had an immediate pay off. The impressive Tangis again used his pace and power to shrug off both his markers before touching a delicate right-foot finish beyond Lae City stopper Ronald Warisan.
Tangis and Moses then tested Warisan again but it was the mercurial Willie in the Galaxy goalmouth who continued his topsy-turvy performance to maintain the lead.
This time he prevented Felix Komolong a chance at redeeming his first-half own goal, blocking the PNG international defender’s header in stunning fashion.
The Galaxy goalkeeper came to the rescue again five minutes later after Lae City were awarded a penalty, denying Lae City captain Emmanuel Simon from the spot-kick.
However, Lae City did get their equaliser, Jonathan Allen slotting home after a breathtaking move from Bob Morris’s side.
Galaxy had a chance to win in added time but substitute Jack Vira hit his effort straight at Warisan with both sides having to settle for a draw in the opening game of the OFC Champions League 2022.
Both teams will be back in Group A action on Sunday, August 7, with Galaxy facing the Solomon Islands’ Central Coast FC while Lae City will take on Tahiti’s AS Venus – with their opponents in action later today in Group A’s other opening fixture.
Galaxy FC 2 (Felix KOMOLONG 28‘ own goal, Kensi TANGIS 46’)
Lae City FC 2 (Dondy KILETEIR 34‘ own goal, Jonathan ALLEN 73’)