Edwards goal broke a 1-1 tie, and 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 Campbell Best heavily involved in multiple scoring chances in the opening seven minutes.
But Puaikura quickly managed to turn the tide and fight back, getting some of their best attacking chances with Edwards and Conroy Tiputoa pressuring the top seeds defence.
Both teams came within a whisper of scoring.
Tupapa Maraerenga had one scoring chance on a direct free kick from Harmon that struck the cross bar in the 15th minute.
They could have been 1-0 up after 20 minutes when 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.
Tupapa Maraerenga came out pressuring Puaikura’s defence but were unable 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.
Tupapa Maraerenga just couldn’t cut into Puaikura’s lead until they slotted 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 his path by his teammate Conroy Tiputoa and he fired into the corner, stunning the Tupapa Maraerenga crowd and sealing their Knockout Cup final appearance.
In the other premier men’s match, Takuvaine came out victors in their semi-final clash with Nikao Sokattak, winning that game 3-1.
Therefore, it will be Puaikura joining Takuvaine at the CIFA Complex on December 16 for the Knockout Cup Final.
In the senior women’s semi-final matches, Tupapa Maraerenga beat Avatiu convincingly 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 for the Knockout Cup title.
- CIFA Media
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. Senior Women: Tupapa Maraerenga vs Avatiu 4-0, Nikao Sokattak vs Titikaveka 0-1, Premier Men: Nikao Sokattak vs Takuvaine 0-3, Tupapa Maraerenga vs Puaikura 1-2.