Southern Strikers defied all odds and put a brave fight to settle for a 1-1 draw against defending champions Toti City FC in round 12 at the Bisini Soccer Park in Port Moresby on Saturday.
Both sides fought a nil-all deadlock heading into the second half. Toti City FC may have underestimated their Port Moresby-based opponents and were looking forward to an easy win but found it a tough ask.
Despite the strike duo of Obert Bika and captain Raymond Gunemba having at least five attempts at goal, they were denied by Strikers goalkeeper Albert Mesulam.
Coach Margaret Aka had earlier said that her side had the hunger to win but had to settle for a draw in the end.
In the opening half, the Strikers put up strong defense to hold their more fancied opponents to nil-all draw. However, in the second stanza, Richard Alois of Southern Strikers, started to dictate play for his side that allowed them to find the target.
But City FC picked up the momentum that resulted in Gunemba (Raymond) finding the target to go one up 1-0.
Jacob Sabua could have made it 2-0 after Gunemba set him up however he put shot over the bar.
However when all seemed to fade away, a revitalised Strikers were pulled together with a set play by midfielder Sylvester Wamin to put Pettyshen Elizah through for an equaliser and settle for a 1-1 draw on full-time .
Aka said it was a tough encounter after giving the reigning champions a hard time. She added that she had a young side and the challenge was worth it because it would help in developing their confidence on the field.
“They did well and despite being young to the league, they really showed courage that they can be better against the best in the competition,” she said.
In the other NSL match in Lae, Besta PNG United FC defeated Buang FC 4-0.