Puaikura snatched a 2-1 win over Tupapa Maraerenga in the CIFA Knockout semifinals on Saturday after an 85th minute goal from Pekay Edwards. Edwards goal broke a 1-1 tie and his team went on to defeat rival and top seed Tupapa Maraerenga. The victory booked them a ticket to the Knockout cup final.
Despite Puaikura claiming the victory, it was Tupapa Maraerenga who controlled the early stages of the game-with Grover Harmon and Cambell Best heavily involved in multiple scoring chances in the opening seven minutes, but with Puaikura quickly turning the tide and fighting back, getting some of their best attacking chances with Pekay Edwards and Conroy Tiputoa pressuring the top seeds defense.
Both teams came within a whisper of scoring. Tupapa Mararenga had one scoring chance on a direct free kick from Grover Harmon that struck the cross bar in the 15th minute. They could have been 1-0 up after 20 minutes when Cambell Best found the back of the net, but an offside flag had already been raised. As the minutes ticked on, Puaikura began to ramp up their pressure and get into their attacking half. Puaikura were awarded a free kick after Mii Joseph was penalised and Dwayne Tiputoa scored Puaikura’s first goal after goalkeeper Manaariki Pierre spilled the ball into the net. Puaikura went into the break with a one-goal buffer.
When action picked back up in the second half, there was plenty of intensity. Tupapa Maraerenga put a lot of pressure on Puaikura’s defense but were not able to find the back of the net thanks to some inspired keeping from Terence Maruariki. It was a hard fought battle for both teams in the second half. The black and white jersey just couldn’t cut into Puaikura’s lead until putting in a penalty kick in the 80th minute. In the 85th minute, Pekay Edwards broke the deadlock when a lob pass sent by Anthony Samuela was headed into into his path by his teammate Conroy Tiputoa and he fired into the corner – to stun the Tupapa Maraerenga crowd and seal their knockout cup final appearance.
In the other premier men’s match Takuvaine came out victors in their semifinal clash with Nikao Sokattak, winning that game 3-1 so It’ll be Puaikura joining Takuvaine at the CIFA Complex on December 16th for the Knockout Cup Final.
In the senior women’s semifinal matches Tupapa Maraerenga beat Avatiu convincly 4-0 while Round cup champions Nikao Sokattak were beaten by Titikaveka 1-0. Tupapa Maraerenga and Titikaveka will go head to head on Saturday to see who will come out the Knockout cup title winners.
Here are the results from last week’s Knockout Semifinal Round:
Under 8 Mixed
Avatiu vs Puaikura 3-1
Takuvaine vs Titikaveka 2-0
Under 11 Mixed
Nikao Sokattak vs Puaikura 3-0
Takuvaine vs Avatiu 3-0
Under 14 Girls
Tupapa Maraerenga vs Nikao Sokattak 0-7
Puaikura vs Matavera 2-0
Under 14 Boys
Nikao Sokattak vs Titikaveka 7-1
Tupapa Maraerenga vs Puaikura 3-1
Under 17 Men
Nikao Sokattak vs Tupapa Maraerenga 2-1
Titikaveka vs Puaikura 1-3
Tupapa Maraerenga vs Avatiu 4-0
Nikao Sokattak vs Titikaveka 0-1
Nikao Sokattak vs Takuvaine 0-3
Tupapa Maraerenga vs Puaikura 1-2