Monday, 16 July 2007 11:32 AM

Solomon Islands Beat PNG 2-1

The Solomon Islands defeated the visiting Papua New Guinea team 2 - 1 to the delight of the thousands of soccer fans present at the Lawson Tama Stadium.

Solomon Islands coach, Airton Andrioli, decided to field what many saw as a second string line up. Andrioli stressed that, "it is not a show of disrespect to the PNG team, a lot of our boys need to rest after the successful beach soccer outing".

Big names such as Naka, Omokirio and Takayama were in the reserve bench. Andrioli was quick to point out that other big names such as Menapi, Maemae, Ratu and Iniga were in the lineup so it would be an understatement to label the team as 'second string'.

The game started very slowly, both teams were understandably cautious given the fact that the two teams have not played each other for a long time. Solomon Islands did most of the attacking through the deadly combination of Mamae, Menapi and Iniga.

Mamae delighted the crowd with his sneaky foot work, setting up Iniga, who at times came threateningly close to scoring. Iniga was all over the pitch and was rewarded when he headed a goal from a through ball close to the end of the first half.
Solomon Islands appeared to relax a little and were made to pay with a classy free kick from PNG star striker, Reginald Davani, leveling the score early in the second half.

The second half was well contested with both teams displaying excellent composure and teamwork. Solomon Islands goalkeeper Felix Ray (Jr.) made some spectacular saves by an onslaught of PNG attacks led by Davani. It was not till late in the second half that Alick Mamae slid one past the PNG keeper after a rebound from a strong kick from Gordon Bebeu. The jubilation from the crowd resonated through the stadium, Solomon Islands then held on to win the match. Coach Andrioli praised the team's performance stating it was a good test match for the team as they prepare for the coming Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa.

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