The ACT Cobras were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw on the opening day of the FFA Futsal Nationals as their match with defending champions NSW Lightning finished all square. The Lightning, who stunned the Futsal community by claiming the 2010 crown against all odds, came from a goal down to lead before being pegged back late in the game by the Cobras thanks to a Misko Naumoski leveller.
The home team got off to a perfect start with an early goal to new recruit Adrian Vizzari, the former NSW representative sweeping home at the end of a slick ACT move much to the delight of the home support that dominated the terraces,
Lightning however showed their resilience and, despite trailing by that goal at the interval, got themselves back into the match with a brace of superb goals. Kane Wright levelled proceedings with a low finish beyond Angelo Konstantinou before man of the match Daniel Fogarty latched onto a perceptive Wright through ball to round the prostrate Cobras shot-stopper and slide the ball into the empty net for a wonderful goal.
The Cobras though hit back and managed to pilfer a late equaliser when Naumoski pounced on a cut back at the end of a terrific team move to calmly finish through a crowd of players and ensure the ACT team a share of the spoils.
NSW Thunder were held in their opener by a spirited ACT Colts team in Pool B that led for the vast majority of the match. The Colts took a first half lead through the feisty Callum Beaton and held the lead for most of the encounter. Late on Daine Merrin equalised for the Thunder but the Colts could have won it at the death when Elia Salloum spooned a chance over the bar in the end the draw was a fair result.
ACT Cobras 2 (Adrian Vizzari, Misko Naumoski) NSW Lightning 2 (Kane Wright, Daniel Fogarty)
ACT Colts 1 (Callum Beaton) NSW Thunder 1 (Daine Merrin)
Meanwhile in the Women’s competition the ACT Cobras forced an opening day 3-3 draw with title holders Queensland. The Maroons looked in good touch against a more experienced ACT outfit and looked destined for a win until a late goal from Maja Blasch earned the Cobras two points for a score draw.
The Cobras had earlier taken the lead with a thumping finish from Luisa Marzotto, a lead they held until the half-time interval, having only been tested sporadically by the Maroons. However, the second half was a different story with Queensland upping the ante and playing some excellent Futsal in the process.
Kate Orkild, who was a standout in the title winning side of 2010, dragged her team level with an exceptional finish before Sophie Lamberton turned the match on its head with a slide rule finish from close range after neat approach play. The ACT responded in kind with a poacher’s leveller from Nicole Somi, sliding in to stab the ball in from close range.
It seemed as if Queensland had won it when Orkild banged in a second minutes from time, but the Cobras had other ideas and Maja Blasch swept in a coolly taken goal to level the score at 3-3.
In the Youth Women’s competition a brace to Sophie Kochinos and a single strike to Krista Hagen ensured ACT Cobras got off to a winning start defeating Victoria 3-2.
Queensland 3 (Kate Orkild (2), Sophie Lamberton) ACT Cobras 3 (Luisa Marzotto, Nicole Somi, Maja Blasch)
Youth Women: ACT Cobras 3 (Sophie Kochinos (2), Krista Hagen) Victoria 2