Mauriki boys celebrating their goal. Photo: Charles Hakwa

Vanuatu national champions Galaxy survived a scary encounter last Saturday when they took on Mauriki from Mele village.

Galaxy were looking for a victory and a chance to climb up the ladder, however they were given a strong challenge by their opponents who held them to a 1-1 draw.

Mauriki, which has a really young team, went into battle as the underdogs and threw all they could at the football power house from the kick off.

Mauriki were solid in defense and broke the Galaxy defensive wall a few times, however the first half remained goalless.

After the break the game got physical as both teams tried to break the deadlock. The intensity of the match resulted in Galaxy picking up 5 yellow cards while Mauriki received 3.

Mauriki’s continuous pressure on the Galaxy defense finally paid off in the 82nd minute when Yano Anatu picked up a rebound off a Galaxy defender and instead of passing to the strikers, decided to take a long range shot from outside the penalty box, which shocked everyone when the ball landed in the back of the Galaxy net which caused the stadium to erupt with excitement.

After the goal things looked to be looking good for the boys in green as they continued to pressure their opponents for another goal, however in the 87th minute Galaxy were rescued from defeat when Ivong capitalized on the Mauriki defensive error and blasted home the much needed equalizer.

Mauriki coach Pastor Frank King was overjoyed with the draw and said as a newly promoted team to the Premiership, a draw is a victory to them, especially against the champions of Vanuatu.

Coach King gave all respect to Galaxy and said his boys did all their best and there was nothing more that they could have done.

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