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Telekom S-League Round 1 review

A week of anticipation separated the launch from the kick off as clubs finalised their team lists for the TSL, as the Telekom S-League has become popularly known locally, in preparation for the opening fixtures the public was out in force to show their support and listeners of the national broadcaster Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) were able to follow the matches live from the provinces on am radio.
First up was the showdown between Malaita Kingz of Malaita Province and Real Kakamora of Makira Ulawa Province which the former won by 2 goals to nil. Charles Irobina has his name etched in football history as the scorer of the first goal of the first TSL season to top off a quality performance by the veteran winger. Former Northern United striker, Trevor Suinao, added their second goal after the halftime break to confirm their 3 points from the game.
It is a positive start for Malaita Kingz who will be looking for something similar when they take on Western United this Saturday. Makira Ulawa, on the other hand, played well but could not find the right rhythm throughout the game but they are sure to improve in their coming matches.
The second match of the weekend was a one sided affair between Koloale and Hana. Riding on the back of their 6 – 1 win over Lautoka last week Koloale were a formidable attacking force taking control of possession and Hana can claim some credit for not allowing their opponents to score more than the 4 they let in. Ian Paia continues to build his status as a top class striker with his 2 goals scored in the first half. Mostyn Beui added their third goal in the 64th minute before substitute Ezra Sale wrapped up the win 3 minutes from time.
Koloale have made a strong statement with this win and their 4 – 0 victory will resonate quite strongly with opposing coaches. Their combination in front was almost faultless and to that they have added a more organised and compact backline managed by former international, George Suri. Hana have to work hard to get some points registered in their next matches but positive signs are showing for them.
Marist Fire were favourites against Western United in the third match of the TSL played at 1:00pm on Sunday and while it was not all straightforward for them they got the 3 points they were after holding down a second half comeback from their opponents to win by 3 – 2. Marist Fire took the lead courtesy of strikes from Michael Patiti and Lency Sale in the 12th and 19th minute respectively. Western United struggled to gain possession as the players found themselves in unfamiliar positions as per the liking of their Australian coach Stefan Metanolmski. However, things changed dramatically for them in the second half and they threatened to steal the game from Marist Fire with 2 quick goals just minutes after halftime from Selwyn Junior and Nathan Kera respectively. However, Marist Fire kept their nerves in check and were able score the winner with 6 minutes to spare as Western United saw their chance to claim something from the game slipped away.
Marist Fire performed quite well despite having a mostly young side but they also benefitted from the experience of Joachim Waroi who has returned home after spending the last 3 years with Hekari United of Papua New Guinea. Western United gave their fans an exciting run for their money in the second half but their efforts, while commendable, fell short.
KOSSA took on Solomon Warriors in the main fixture of the weekend which ended in a 2 – 2 draw and underlined the status of both clubs as 2 of the top contenders for the 2010/11 Telekom S-League season.
Solomon Warriors had an impressive array of players for the season and their line up included former KOSSA striker James Naka and national midfielder, George Lui. Starting of impressively Solomon Warriors drew first blood with Casper Aengari’s effort in the 19th minute and KOSSA had to wait until 4 minutes before halftime before they equalised through Franco Ne’e who helped in Stanton Hila’s shot. Returning with confidence in the second half KOSSA found the back of the net in the 46th minute with Clifford Wate’s bicycle kick but more drama was to come as their opponents levelled terms with a controversial goal from Dennis Ifunaoa 16 minutes later. Both sides went all out to grab the goal to make the difference but in the end they had to settle for a draw and register a point each for their efforts.
Solomon Warriors have almost the perfect combination of players in their line up and their performance against KOSSA will be a warning signal for its opponents later in the season. KOSSA suffered a little from problems in its midsection but did well to win themselves at least a point from this tough encounter.

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