Tupapa Maraerenga FC defeated Nikao Sokkatak FC in a nail-biting finish at the CIFA Complex in the final match of the CIFA Knockout competition last Saturday, regaining their championship title after three-years of missing out.
Skipper Moeroa Harmon with her team of veteran experiences, fought back after losing a run of multiple score ends in previous years against Nikao in the knockout finals.
Nikao Sokkatak were the first to open the scoring line through June Punua who placed a low ball through the net in the 21st minute of the match.
Contention was in high supply as both sides attacked but neither could put away another goal in the remaining of the first spell, keeping the score at bay at 1-0.
It wasn’t until the 53rd minute into the match that Tupapa Maraerenga came back when Nicole Marurai broke through Nikao’s backline to blast home the equaliser.
The score was at 1-1 and the battle only grew stronger with both teams anxious to break the dead-lock.
The Harmon triple threat of Moeroa, Temata and older sister Elizabeth made for some great counter-attacking but Nikao was on stellar performance to meet the challenges with veteran Poko Manuela holding it together in the central back-line.
But all efforts of the Nikao side flew out the window when an unfortunate foul by Manuela in the box awarded Tupapa’s Moeroa Harmon a penalty in the box which was converted successfully taking the score up to 2-1 in the 78th minute.
It was too late for a surprise come-back by Nikao and two minutes later the full-time whistle blew to reward the victory to Tupapa Maraerenga FC.
Celebrations were in the air as Tupapa rejoiced their first knockout final win in three years.
Nikao Sokattak were the previous title holders since 2013.
In the other knockout final matches Tupapa claimed three other victories in the U11 mixed, U14 Girls and U14 boys junior age-group divisions, while Titikaveka claimed the Under 8 mixed division title and Nikao Sokattak taking out the U17 men’s competition for their second year in a row.
Here are the full results from last weekend’s Knockout finals round
Under 8 Mixed division
Titikaveka vs Takuavine 1-0
Under 11 Mixed division
Tupapa Maraerenga vs Titikaveka 1-0
Under 14 Girls division
Tupapa Maraerengavs Avatiu 2- 1
Under 14 Boys division
Tupapa Maraerenga vs Nikao Sokattak 8-1
Senior women division
Tupapa Maraerenga vs Nikao Sokattak 2-1