In the replayed match of the premier men’s CIFA Knockout cup finals which was postponed from Saturday due to bad weather, Puaikura defeated Avatiu 6-2 at the CIFA Complex in Matavera.
Although Puaikura were the hot favourites going into the match it took them 24 minutes to show that, after national U-20 striker Dwayne Tiputoa scored the first goal off a rebound of the Avatiu goalkeeper Luke Vidovi.
In the remainder of the first half both teams tried tirelessly to score a goal but it was not until the 43rd minute of play when one of the most lethal left-footed players Paavo Mustonen scored Puaikura’s second goal to increase their lead to 2-0 going into the break.
In front of a respectable crowd the second half showed a lot more football action.
Again Puaikura team showed their strength when Pekay Edwards easily deceived the keeper by tapping the ball side-wards off his guard to score their third goal of the match in the 51st minute.
The side maintained their dominance in terms of ball possession and tactical play and went on to score two goals in quick succession off the boot of unmarked youngster Conroy Tiputoa in the 58th and 59th minute.
Avatiu who was determined to do well against Puaikura after 15 years of waiting, never gave up and pushed forward frequently and scored their first goal of the match which was a beauty off the left boot of winger-striker Nathan Tisam.
It was only three minutes after their first goal when the referee awarded a penalty against Puaikura and this was perfectly scored by young powerful Rechimaer Rairoa.
With the score now at 5-2 in favour of Puaikura and with 19 minutes left of play, many were thinking that if Avatiu could score another goal they would be on track for a remarkable come-back.
However, this was short-lived after Puaikura scored their sixth and final goal of the match after a defensive error amongst the Avatiu defenders.
Puaikura is one of the few premier men’s teams to play nineteen games without losing a match in recent years. On top of this they also won the preseason tournament, round cup championship and thus qualifying for the O-League Preliminary tournament to be held in Tonga in January 2017.
Avatiu must also be commended for their efforts especially in the knockout cup competition. They knocked out fourth place team Nikao Sokattak in the first elimination round of the knockout competition and again defeated second-place Tupapa Maraerenga in the semi-final play-offs to reach the knockout finals for the first time in 15 years.