Friday 15th January 2010
31st FFA Futsal National Championships
11-15 January 2010, Canberra
Lightning surge to win Nationals
NSW Lightning were crowned men’s open champions at the FFA Futsal National Championships after an epic 4-2 Grand Final win over the ACT Cobras at the AIS Arena.
The Lightning came from 1-0 down to complete a memorable end to the competition that threatened to derail them halfway through when they suffered three losses in quick succession. A last-gasp win in both the final round of regular matches, to seal a semi-final spot, and a nerve-wracking extra-time win over NSW Thunder in the last four was topped by a superb display in the decider.
Rhys Giovanali was named man of the match after a performance full of guile and energy that left the ACT Cobras floundering in his wake. It was Giovanali who pulled his team off the canvas after George Cattanach converted his eighth goal of the tournament, following an astute Trent Flanigan pass, to give the Cobras the lead. Giovanali’s rapid fire response, a thunderous left foot effort from range, sent out the requisite message to his team that a reverse of the 2-4 loss to the Cobras earlier this week was possible.
After Shervin Adeli left Flanigan in his wake to coolly slot past the advancing Kieren Stroh, Lightning were in command. A late first-half burst saw Tom Rogic stretch to volley in a magnificent equaliser to leave the match poised at 2-2 at the break.
The second half saw the Lightning surge to the front via an Ediz Alpkaya strike and, when Corey Biczo extended the lead to 4-2 the writing was on the wall for the home town team.
Even the desperate measure of putting outfield player Matt Menser into goals to create the fifth man failed to produce a response and the Cobras challenge wilted away. All that was left was for the Lightning to celebrate a shock championship triumph in some style.
Southern NSW 3 ACT Cobras 1
Southern NSW sprung a second surprise with a victory over the ACT Cobras in the men’s Youth Grand Final. Led by immense man mountain, and man of the match, Rocci Gabby the Southern NSW team recorded a 3-1 win over their ACT counterparts. Gavin Schipp gave Southern NSW the lead before goals from Alan Copacetic and Daniel Ferraro put the match out of reach. A late response from Hayden O’Kelly wasn’t enough for an out-gunned ACT team that missed the tournament’s top scorer, Luke Cole, through suspension.
DAY FIVE RESULTS
Final: NSW Lightning 4 (Rhys Giovanna, Shervin Adele, Ediz Alpaca, Corey Biczo) defeated ACT Cobras 2 (George Cataract, Tom Logic)
10 Tom ROGIC (ACT Cobras)
9 George CATTANACH (ACT Cobras)
7 Pat ROSS-MAGEE (ACT Cobras), Shervin ADELI (NSW Lightning), Mojtaba MOHEBBEE (Southern NSW)
6 Maxime JACQUIN (ACT Colts), Simon KEITH (NSW Thunder), Peter GAFFNEY (Southern NSW)
5 Mishko NAUMOVSKI (ACT Colts), Daniel FOGARTY (NSW Thunder), Oner SIMSEK (Victoria)
4 Victor YANES (ACT Colts), Chris ZEBALLOS (NSW Thunder), Ediz ALPKAYA (NSW Lightning), Sahand MEHRKHVARI (Southern NSW)
3 Trent FLANIGAN, Matt MENSER, (both ACT Cobras), Kole AITKEN (ACT Colts), Dean LOCKHART, Danny MARTINEZ (both NSW Thunder), Corey BICZO, Daniel FULTON, Anthony TOW (all NSW Lightning), Luke DRINKWATER, Shannon MANGOVSKI (both NNSW Hunter), Darrell FERNANDES (Southern NSW), Manny KARAS (Victoria)
2 Tony ALEKSOVSKI, Marcel MUNOZ, Elia SALLOUM (all ACT Cobras), Tuan CAO, Rhys GIOVANALI (both NSW Lightning), Dylan MALONEY (NSW Thunder), Chris BERLIN, Haken CANLEY (both NNSW Hunter), Chris CASIERO, Jarrod NOEL, Ross OSMAN, Anthony SOLAGNA (all South Australia), Denny DUTRA, Joseph FOTI, Robert ISSA, Shane SOUTTER (all Southern NSW), James BLACKBURN, Adam HUSSEINI, Adelson De MELO, Dimi VITHOULKES (all Victoria)