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Hekari United edge Lae City to secure Big Dance

Updated: Apr 29

The Hekari United Football Club advanced to the Grand Final after pulling off a 2-1 victory over the Lae City Football Club in the extra time of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) Men’s Semi-Final clash on Wednesday, December 13, at the PNG Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

The game started at a slow pace, which saw Hekari and Lae City try to find their feet and build up the tempo of the match to create goal-scoring opportunities. The goals came begging but no team managed to find the back of the net, leaving the half time score at nil all.

In the second half, it was a different ball game as both teams changed their gears and increased the intensity of the clash. The intense battle continued until in the third quarter of the match, Hekari scored to open up the game.

The 2022 Champions (Lae City) were not unfazed by Hekari’s goal. They held their composure, used their experience and tried to level the score. Through repeated field territory and ball possession, the Morobean lads finally scored to equalize the goals, sending the game into extra time. 

The pace of the match in the regulation time maintained its rhythm into the extra time. No team broke the deadlock in the first 15 minutes. However, right on stroke of fulltime before the game was sent to penalty shootout, Yagi Yasasa scored an individual brilliant goal to ice the game.

Hekari’s coach, David Muta said he was pleased with his side, although it was a hard-fought win for the table toppers this season. 

“The performance was really exceptional. I think we achieved what we came here to do. The plan worked really well,” Muta said.

“If we made use of the chances that we had, we would have won by 4 or 5 goals. Regardless, I am happy that the boys got the job done.”

Muta also credited Lae City for putting up a spirited fight which gave Hekari a run for their money and left fans on the edge of their seats.

“Lae City were the better side, in terms of experience. They kept on asking us questions by using their experience, but my boys competed fiercely and shut them down,” Muta added.

He further thanked the franchise owners, John Kapi Natto and wife Vonnie Kapi Natto, including the major sponsor MRDC, the die-hard fans, the players and their families.

“I want to say thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Natto, MRDC, our fans and families for always supporting and backing us up. We truly appreciate everyone’s support,” Muta said. 

Meanwhile, in the second match, the Lae City Dwellers defeated the Port Moresby Strikers with a 2-1 scoreline and booked grand final berth. 

Hekari United FC will take on Lae City Dwellers in the 2023 Premier Soccer League Grand Final on Saturday, December 16, at the PNG Football Stadium in Port Moresby. 

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