Lae City Dwellers opened Group C action and claimed their first ever OFC Champions League victory with their 5-2 win against Malampa Revivors at Mangere Centre Park in Auckland today.
Lae City Dwellers’ 5-2 win over Malampa Revivors earlier in the day saw a more one-sided match with one side scoring all the first half goals, even though one was in their own net.
Raymond Gunemba opened Lae’s scoring streak when he received a through ball past Malampa Revivors goalkeeper Naruel Maliu, who had sprinted out of the box to win the ball. Gunemba ran forward to receive the ball between Maliu and the open goal and placed it in the back of the net in the eighth minute of the game.
Malampa held the dominating Papua New Guinean side out until the 37th minute when Peter Dabinyaba Jnr charged past Ismael Sam out wide and fired the ball into the back of the net to make it two for Lae City Dwellers.
Goalkeeper Ronald Warisan tightened the scoring margin just before the half-time whistle when a corner kick from John Alick slipped through the legs of Raymond Gunemba catching Warisan off-guard which caused him to knock the ball into his own goal.
The own goal was redeemed early in the second half when New Zealand youth international George Debenham got a toe to a cross from Raymond Gunemba to tap the ball in at back post and Obert Bika followed up only two minutes later when Debenham sent in a dangerous cross for the attacker to fire past Maliu.
The final goal of the day gave Malampa Revivors a moment of celebration in the tough 90 minutes, with Edwin Bai bringing their tally up to two by tapping in a miscued Dwellers’ clearance.
Lae City Dwellers coach Peter Gunemba was ecstatic to win their first match of the competition, especially after going home with three losses in last year’s OFC Champions League, but he knows there is still a lot of room for improvement.
“This is the first win for us after coming here last year and not winning a game,” he said.
“We should have scored more than two goals in the first half but in the second half I talked to them and told them to settle down and they started to play like we have been training.
“I think we did well in this match but we will have to correct our mistakes over the next three days.”
Disappointed about conceding five goals, Malampa Revivors coach Steven Varegali is keeping his head high after a passionate battle and a proud performance in their OFC Champions League debut.
“I’m really happy because this is our first time and we have learned many things,” he said.
“We found out we are the same level as them, the only thing was our keeper made some mistakes and that’s why there was a big score margin.”
Malampa Revivors and Western United will both battle for their first three points when they play at 1pm on the second day of Group C action at Mangere Centre Park on 15 March. Auckland City FC and Lae City Dwellers will then battle for the top-of-the-table at 4pm.