Lea’i brace bags three point

Marist FC Raphael Lea’i.
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“Our combination play failed” Coach Talo

By Taromane Martin

Marist FC Raphael Lea’i.

A double from 16-year-old Raphael Lea’i saw Marist FC bag their first three points in the new season of the Telekom Soccer League.

Boosted with a number of unrecognizable youngsters in the starting 11 on Sunday Marist handed Malaita Kingz FC their second defeat in the season defeating them 3-1 at the Lawson Tama on Sunday.

Lea’i found the back of the net in the first half helping Marist lead 2-0 at half time but saw Malaita King FC fighting their way back through Alford Po’oia grabbed a goal back in 15 minutes into half time.

Forward Charles Mani was brilliant for M/Kingz on the other end of the pitch but could not find enough gel with strike partner Benjamin Toata to grab the equalizer.

PNG international and Kapuls former team captain Michael Foster picked up a yellow card for a hefty challenge on Lea’i 68th minutes in the second half.

Lea’i sealed the victory for his side 76 minutes into the second half while Kingz left flanker Eddie Huniehu was denied by the goal post toward the final five minutes of play.

“At the moment the mood is not that great because losing is not good for the club,” Malaita Kingz Coach Rence Talo told SunSPORTS after their loss yesterday.

“Our combination play failed, a couple of the boys seemed to be struggling and I’m currently missing four of my players who are currently away on international duties which made a huge difference for the team.

“From here I think we have to make some adjustments during training and see where we go from then.

“Like I told the boys after the game we have to keep our heads up, work extra harder and look forward to meeting them next time around,” he said.

Marist Head Coach Jerry Allen was pleased with the victory and performance from his young side saying he was pleased with how his young and inexperienced side played yesterday.

“Yes I’m pleased with the young boys today. Team is very young but they played well today.

“I was not with the team for our opening match however the young boys played really well today.

“We always and I always try and encourage the boys to take it one game at a time and look forward for our next game whether it is tough or not.

“The boys received instructions well today. But then again there are still a lot of things to improve in the team and I believe, as the season progress on the boys will learn and improve.

“The season is still starting and it’s still very much anyone’s game,” Coach Allen said.

Other result from yesterday’s 4pm match between Solomon Warriors FC and Western United FC ended 1-1, Lency Norman on target for W/United while defender Allen Pita salvaged a crucial point for Solomon Warriors FC.