The Central Province Premier Football League’s Hardware Haus Agarobe Cup was marred with spectator violence on Sunday after supporters from Goilala invaded the field and started attacking players from the Koiari team. The incident happened in extra time when both teams were locked at six points each, a Koiari player tackled a Goilala player, the crowd saw a punch in the tackle and started getting agitated and soon after a group of supporters ran into the field of play attacking the Koiari players.
Despite the abrupt end to proceedings in the grand final at the Murray Barracks Oval, the game proved entertaining and kept everyone on their toes. Goilala were arguably a tough opponent for Koari but Koiari were not to be put down easily, the match was promising with strong hit ups by forwards on both sides of the field, equally impressive were the bone crunching tackles.
The Goilala team had the advantage after handling errors by Koiari shifted the momentum to Goilala, and with some draw and pass, Goilala went over for an unconverted try taking the lead to 4-0. Both teams had a few close calls but could not score any tries leaving the score at 4-0 at half time. The second half was fiery as the first with both teams smashing into each other with no hesitation.
Koiari made a mends to their game and with Goilala on the back foot scored their first try, a conversion ensured Koiari take the lead 6-4 lead. It seemed all over for Goilala but with just 10 minutes of play left in their season, a penalty was given to Goilala in the Koiari 10-meter line after the ball was stripped by a Koiari player, a clean penalty conversion equalised the scores 6-6 sending the match into overtime.
The match came to an abrupt end at overtime with the Goilala crowd invading the field and attacking the Koiari players, where it was confirmed that a player was stabbed by a member of the crowd.
The players tried their best to contain the crowd but were outnumbered, team captain’s coaches and managers were very disappointed with the spectators saying they should have left the matter on the field.
The CPPL executives made a decision to call off the game and award a joint winner leaving both teams coming out winners of the game.
The first 6 months the cup will stay with Goilala and second 6 months the cup will stay with Koiari.
CPPL Business Development Manager in consultation with judiciary chairman will review the footage and compile a report that will outline the next cause of actions to be taken.
By Fidelis Sukina – EMTV Sports, Port Moresby