The Henderson Eels were held to a rare draw as the S-League returned in the Solomon Islands during the weekend.
Eddie Marahare’s side have enjoyed a strong campaign as they search for their first national league title but they only managed to take a solitary point from their 1-1 draw with Honiara City at Lawson Tama Stadium on Sunday.
Given the Solomon Warriors beat Real Kakamora 6-2 on Saturday, Henderson’s lead was slashed to seven points at the top of the table with the Warriors in second.
Marahare’s men have won 11 from 14 this season with only two draws and one defeat.
“I told the players that we need to work hard to maintain the lead on the table as teams will be coming very strong to compete,” he said.
“Further, I urge the team to maintain a commitment to training.
“With the OFC Champions League experience [from last year] and exposure with our players, I am sure and confident that the players will deliver to achieve history for our team this season.”
In the week’s other matches, Marist beat the Malaita Kingz 4-1 and Isabel United beat Southern United 3-1. Central Coast and Laugu United are due to meet on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, the Solrais Women’s Premier League board has called for expressions of interest for participating teams in the second edition of the competition as the league eyes expansion.
Last season’s inaugural campaign featured eight teams and was won by the RSIPF Royals.
In New Zealand, the first North vs South tournament was hosted by Māori Football Aotearoa in Rotorua on Saturday.
Following a thorough talent identification process, 128 players from across the country were involved; the event took place instead of the traditional meeting with Australia’s First Nations in an all-indigenous international encounter.
In the senior men’s game, North triumphed 6-0, while South took the senior women’s encounter 15-2 on the back of seven goals from Futsal Ferns squad member Britney-Lee Nicholson.
In the U-16 division, the North boys won 4-3 and the North girls emerged with a 5-2 victory.
Team Wellington have gone to the top of the ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership after a 5-2 win over local rivals the Wellington Phoenix Reserves.
They went behind early on the scoreboard but came home with a wet sail as they moved ahead of Auckland City FC on goal difference after the Navy Blues were held to a 1-1 draw in their Gridlock Derby against Eastern Suburbs AFC on Sunday.
“It took us a little bit of time to get into the game, but once we settled ourselves down then, without being arrogant, I thought there was only one team in it. Especially the second half, we were tremendous in the second half. And I thought in the first half, despite being 2-1 down, I thought we should have been ahead,” Team Wellington coach Scott Hales said.
“In the first half it was just a quality final pass or shot at the end that we lacked. But it came together in the second half and the boys steamrolled them.”
In the weekend’s other games, Hawke’s Bay United upset Hamilton 4-1 and Waitakere United drew 3-3 with Canterbury. More info on Matchweek 9 can be found here.
In Fiji, the venue has been confirmed for this week’s Champion vs Champion series.
With ANZ Stadium and Subrail Park both unavailable, Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori will host both fixtures in the two-leg series between Suva and Labasa.
Match one is scheduled for Friday with the final encounter set for Sunday; Suva are the defending Vodafone Premier League champions, while Labasa won last year’s Courts Inter-District Championship.
In the Papua New Guinea Women’s National Soccer League, Poro FC continued their run of dominance in the Northern Conference.
They kept their perfect record intact with a 7-0 win over Rainy Lae FC, which marked their eighth win from as many matches.
In Saturday’s other fixtures in the Northern Conference, Sepik FC moved to second on the ladder on goal difference courtesy of a 3-0 victory over Markham Raings FC, while Morobe Tulip FC edged Pacific Gardens FC 1-0 and Tusbab Laidamon beat Bara 2-1.
In the Southern Conference, FC Genesis dropped points for the first time this season following their 1-1 stalemate with NCD Hekari United FC.
POM City FC beat POM City Academy 7-0 and NCD FC handed Amoana FC their fifth defeat in as many outings as their clash finished 3-2.
In Vanuatu, the 2021 National League Championship began on Saturday and Port Vila beat Shefa 6-0, while Tafea toppled Malampa 2-1.
The tournament continues this week with two matches each day from Tuesday until Saturday. The semi-finals are scheduled for Wednesday, February 3.