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Hekari down Dwellers in a thrilling boil-over to claim the title

Updated: Apr 29

Yagi Yasasa’s match-winning goal in the shadows of full time helped the Hekari United Football Club to walk away with the coveted trophy, edging the Lae City Dwellers with a 1-0 victory in the 2023 inaugural Premier Soccer League (PSL) Grand Final on Saturday, December 16, at PNG Football Stadium in Port Moresby. 

It was a clash of the titans, where Hekari and Dwellers rose to the occasion and delivered an exhilarating decider that left the staunch football fans on the edge of their seats. The two teams lived up to the hype and expectations of the fans, showcasing an entertaining and money’s worth performance. 

The match started at a very quick pace in the early proceedings, which saw both sides attack and counter-attack each other, trying to create goal-scoring opportunities. The goals came begging, but no team managed to find the back of the net. The arm wrestle continued to the 45th minute until the hooter sounded for the break, leaving the half time score nil all.  

In the second half, both teams lifted the intensity and tempo of the game. They were contending for ball possession and field territory to break the deadlock. Hekari made a couple of attempts to open up the game and Dwellers too had their chances, but they could not capitalize. 

The intense battle continued until the end of the regulation time and 7 minutes added time was given. With the game hanging in the balance, both teams were relying on their clutch players to pull off the magic. Behold, right on the stroke of full time, Yagi Yasasa scored a match-winner for Hekari and shattered the hearts of the courageous Dwellers.

Interestingly, in the Semi-Final clash against Lae City FC on Wednesday, December 13, Yasasa scored the match-winning goal in the extra time and saved Hekari to book the big dance. Just like what he did in the preliminary final, when the pressure was mounting in the decider, the skillful midfielder held his composure, used his experience and puts the icing on the cake, stealing the limelight. He capped off his stellar season in style and won the Golden Boot Award. Cometh the moment, cometh the “Pitch General.”

Hekari’s coach, David Muta was pleased with his team and credited the players for playing well under pressure to get the job done. 

“I want to say well done to the players. Because of their hard work in the season and we won the title, so I give credit back to the players. It was a well-deserved win,” Coach Muta said.

He also congratulated the Dwellers for putting up a spirited fight against Hekari that truly entertained the fans.

“I want to say well done to Lae City Dwellers for a great performance and congratulate them for reaching the grand final. Well done to coach Gunemba and his boys,” Muta expressed. 

“It’s not a mistake they are in the final. Because of their hard work and team spirit, they have made it to the final. So, congratulations to the Dwellers, the coaching staff and their supporters,” he said.

Muta further thanked Mr. and Mrs. Natto, the major sponsor MRDC, the loyal fans, the players and their families for supporting the club.

“I want to say big thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Natto and their family, including MRDC for always backing us up,” he said.

“I also want to say thank you to the fans for sticking with us. Credit goes to the players for their effort to win the title, including their families’ support.”

Additionally, Muta won his first title as a coach, bagging both the Minor Premiership and Premiership trophies for the Hekari this season and dedicated the win to his late dad, who passed away early this year. 

“I am very happy. I want to get the credit, but I think the players deserved the credit. We (coaches) only guide the players and they execute what we tell them to do. They won the game for us, so I am so excited,” overwhelmed Muta stated. 

“I wish my late dad was here to see this game. I dedicate this win to him. I am so happy right now.” 

Meanwhile, Hekari will have a one week break during the Christmas period and resume training on the first week of January, 2024, in preparation for their Oceania Football Confederation qualifier. 

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