Sport: PNG's Hekari United eye playoffs return

10:11 am on 16 April 2016

Hekari United can seal a berth in the Oceania Champions League knockout rounds for the first in six years with a draw or win against Team Wellington.

Hekari United players celebrate scoring a goal against Tafea FC.

Hekari United players celebrate scoring a goal against Tafea FC. Photo: Oceania Football

The Papua New Guinea club won the competition in 2010 but have failed to progress past the group stage since.

Hekari have impressed in Auckland over the past week, thrashing New Caledonia's AS Lossi, 5-1 and Suva FC from Fiji 3-0 and lead Group B from Team Wellington, thanks to a superior goal differential.

A win or draw this afternoon will put them into the final four and team owner and chairman, John Kapi Natto, is confident about their chances.

"We're looking at the goal differences and against as well but I think without underestimating Team Wellington - I guess (Hekari coach) Jerry Allen would say as well looking at Team Wellington being the champion of the (New Zealand) grand final against Auckland City which was a big surprise."

"Back in Papua New Guinea we are the (National Soccer League) minor premiers but we lost the grand final (against Lae City Dwellers)," he said.

"It's sort of uneven to see both teams: Hekari facing up with Team Wellington, knowing last year that we lost 2-0 to them in Suva. For us as a team it's just concentrating on being disciplined and playing smart and playing cleverly and all that I think the boys will overcome Team Wellington."

Whoever finishes runner-up in Group B can still make the semi-finals as the best second-placed team will join the three group winners in the knockout rounds.