Malaita Eagles are again champions of the Solomon Cup after beating Central Shields 2-1 in a tough encounter at Lawson Tama stadium on Saturday.
A sensational free kick 25 minutes into the second half from captain Andrew Rarangia gifted the Eagles their 4th Solomon Cup trophy.
It took the defending champions just four minutes into the game to score through star striker Clement Baegeni, after his teammate was brought inside the penalty box, which the golden winner calmly slotted the ball in.
The Eagles continued to dominate in the early stages of the game with Baegeni and fellow forward Fred Ani’i causing problems for the Shields defense.
Central Shields were still playing confident football despite the continuous Eagles onslaught, with Captain Oscar Sara, and striker Kennedy Watamae creating half chances in the dying stages of the first half.
The second half saw the Shields coming out strongly. They were rewarded just 10 minutes in after striker Simon Steven was brought down from a dangerous challenge, to which the referee pointed directly for a spot kick.
Captain Sara made no mistake slotting the ball in for the equalizer.
Both teams continued to counter each other’s half, Baegenimaking strong runs into the Shields half, and Watamaedoing the same on the opposite side.
The winning goal came in the 75th minute when captain Adrew Rarangia stepped up to take a free kick just outside the 18 yard box.
The defender curled in the ball beautifully into the left hand side of the goal mouth, leaving Shields keeper motionless.
Both teams continued to battle it out, displaying dazzling football leading to the end of the game.
Speaking after the match, Eagles coach Terry Oiaka said that retaining the title was not an easy job, and that his boys’ hard work had been rewarded.
“We knew the final would be tough, but i’m very happy my boys who stepped up for the challenge and came out with the win,” he said.
“The boys were really happy with the win, and were proud to represent their province.”
Malaita Eagles also received fifty thousand dollars in cash prize, a golden boot for striker Clement Baegeni, and golden glove award for keeper Jerry Tom.
By: Lowen Sei