Lae City FC are heavy favorites in tomorrow’s Semi-Finals fixture against Gulf Komara.
Having lost only one game the entire season, and with the best defending players in the league, Gulf, will have a tough task against the NSL’s defending champions.
Lae City will be heading into this match riding on the back of big wins over other clubs, suffering only a single loss throughout the season, and they face a Gulf Komara side whom they’ve scored six goals against.
With Philip Steven and Alwin Komolong holding that strong defence, Gulf will need to utilize their creativity and speed upfront to provide any sort of real threat.
Emmanuel Simon and Jacob Sabua, both having played together in the mid-field for Papua New Guinea, have been in form this season, providing a host of attacking opportunities for their side.
Gulf Komara, had left it till quite late to qualify for the semi-finals, that big 5-0 victory over Star Mountains last week, seeing them leap from Tusbab Stallions for that crucial 4th spot.
Jordan Kaven and Pala Paul will provide for them much needed impetus going forward, and will be the go-to players in this semi-finals match.
Kaven, who performed a hat trick last week in the decisive qualifier, will have to dig deep as he goes against Lae’s strong, towering, defence.
The second semi-finals fixture will see Vitiaz and Hekari meet.
Both sides have been evenly matched the whole season, having had two draws, the first a 0-0 in February, and the most recent match, in September that ended one all.
Hekari will go into this match as slight favorites, having had consecutive wins, with Vitiaz coming off the back of 2 losses and a draw.
Vitiaz have had very few changes to their starting 11 this season, with the league’s top scorer Jonathan Allen only missing one match, while Hekari’s constantly rotating squad has left punters guessing.
Yagi Yasasa and Eliud Fugre in Vitiaz’s midfield were unable to dominate in last week’s draw against Lae City, and questions remain on the availability of defender Joshua Talau who was stretchered off.
Hekari have few concerns, with PNG strikers Raymond Gunemba, Nigel Dabinyaba and Kolu Kepo expected to start.
But it is in the backline where Hekari have looked less convincing, and most footballers know, to win games, you have to defend your goal.
The matches will kick off at 12:50pm on Saturday, simulcast LIVE on EMTV and EMTV online.