Foot of the table has sprung into life in Round 8
North Melbourne FC v FC Melbourne (10-5)
After leading the Nike V-League ladder after the completion of round 7 last week, it was only fitting that North Melbourne also led the opening for the nights proceedings for round 8. Again, as we have seen all season, Milton Sakkos had a full-strength squad to battle 10th placed Melbourne, although Sakkos had a trick up his sleeve with the addition of Queensland State Futsal representative, Renagi Ingram, who flew down from ‘the land of Queens’ to test his skills in Victoria’s premier competition. Melbourne on the other hand were with only one change, defender Andrew Skoullos was un-available – which was a shame as Melbourne needed all the defensive power they could muster, as they were against the highest scoring side in the entire league. And also knowing that Melbourne were going to “park the bus” and play a very negative style, North Melbourne knew they needed to come out swinging and get an early lead. And that’s exactly what they got as Adam Cooper had his hand in the opening two goals of the game, first setting up big target Mirza Pedic and then claiming a trade-mark long range effort. Then, as we have seen Melbourne do time and time again tis season, they bit back through utility Mael Guilliou. But their hopes of staying close to North were shattered when a Jon Barrientos brace and Tiago Priori solo effort gave them a 4-1 lead. An unlikely header from little Melbourne playmaker, Fabiano De Britto again reduced the deficit, only for Barrientos to cancel out his goal and complete his hat-trick by half-time. The second half saw more of the same for the league leaders as Alex Jankovic added yet another goal for his side. As De Britto seemed to leave his shooting boots at home, Melbourne defender Elias Stavridis took it upon himself to bag a goal, only for Pedic and Priori to complete their doubles shortly after. De Britto was also able to score two himself, as he beat two North defenders outside the “D” and slot past keeper Christos Apostolakis to make it 9-4. After giving away their 6th foul for the half, Mirza Pedic was awarded a penalty, which he thumped past keeper Dan Rizio. To finish of the scoring – with seconds remaining – unlikely scorer, Dominik Rafati added Melbourne’s fifth for a 10-5 score line. North Melbourne keep going from strength to strength as they show no signs of slowing, but they will be tested in the next few weeks as leading scorer Mirza Pedic is due to leave for a holiday. I’m sure they can cope.
Albert Park FC v FC Essendon (4-4)
The second encounter of the night saw Albert Park go head to head against a fresh and rejuvenated Essendon whose match against Metro was postponed. Albert Park who are in 11th position were at full strength, only missing the services of defender Peter Ighnitidis, and Essendon in 7th welcomed defender Boza Lojanica back into the fold. And what a welcome return it was for the stocky defender as he opened the scoring only minutes after kick-off after being set up by Alexander to easily tap in. Lojanica could have doubled his tally moments after as he was again faced with an open goal – but missed! The blunder by Boza seemed to give Albert Park the kick-start they needed as both Jason and Theo Ioanidis scored to give the Oranges a 2-1 lead. Then as half time drew nearer veteran defender Vljako Bosnjak bolted through the Albert Park “D” to level. The scene was set for an enthralling finish. The second half was definitely one for the keepers, as both Fadi Qunqar (APFC) and Ned Torbika (FCE) were constantly called into action. But it was a smart 1-2 between Chris Yang and Jason Ioanidis that put the Oranges ahead. Albert Park then seemed to fall asleep (defensively) in the space of 5 minutes, and in that time Essendon spearhead Alex Stevanovic was left unmarked and able to score two goals and restore the Reds lead. The pressure was on the Oranges as they strived to regain their winning position. They were handed a lifeline as they were awarded a penalty, which Chris Yang was unable to convert as he forced a brilliant save from Torbika. But this did not deter Albert Park as the fought to the end and got their goal, as David Straniero thumped the ball in from distance to bring the end result to 4-4 and a share of the points. It was a very positive result for Albert Park, who will be welcoming back key striker Josh Berrios after 3 weeks. Chris Yang and Qunqar have also been playing well of late. As for Essendon, Brunswick await in the next round, which will be a tough encounter. A clash hopefully Dusan Bosnjak can return for.
Metropolitan FC v FC Prahran (3-3)
What an entertaining fixture, as two of the leagues quality sides – albeit both sides are in different positions on the table – in Metropolitan 4th took on Prahran in 8th. Metro, who were coming off a bye from last week, had recruited a new player in Dion Portelli, possibly cover for the missing Husmir Ikanovic, whereas Prahran remained unchanged with a full squad. After coming off a narrow loss to Fitzroy last week, Prahran were out to redeem themselves and to claim a big win, and they got off to a great start as Ernie Simsek turned Metro’s Tomo Grgic and fired past an out-stretched Dardan Djokaj. It wasn’t going to be long until Metro opened their account, and it was a trademark Jusuf Avdic rocket from beyond halfway from Irzad Spijodic’s side-ball. Sky Blues captain, Alija Redzepovic, then followed up his team-mates goal by latching onto a Portelli through ball, then Alija coolly slotted past a sprawling Michael Chami. Then with minutes remaining, a brilliant “futsal goal” from Prahran levelled the tie. Adam Husseini gained possession in defence, ran the ball into their attacking half, passed to Ben Armstrong, who then passed to an awaiting Maxi Avram unmarked at the backpost making it 2-2 at the break. The second half was a more tightly contested half of futsal as both keepers stood firm – both Chami and Djokaj extremely impressive. But to give the sky blues the lead, Dino Redzepovic was left unmarked and was able to score past Chami. Then with not too many chances left in the game, Ernie Simsek bobbed up to score a composed shot from distance to level the game at 3-3. And that’s the way the scores stayed until the final whistle. Prahran could’ve done with the win as they are only 8 points from 8 games, but still a good result against quality opposition – maybe a win next week against Albert Park? Whereas Metropolitan are to be faced with another stern test from Fitzroy in round 9.
Fitzroy FC v Pascoe Vale FC (T.B.A)
It was very unfortunate that the scheduled 8:45pm clash between top four heavyweights Pascoe Vale FC (2nd) and Fitzroy FC (4th) could not take place. The replay leaves us all with something to look forward to in a few weeks time as we see are treated to witnessing Pascoe Vale’s flair, style and cohesion go up against the disciplined, organised and hard-working Fitzroy FC. There is also the ‘mini-battle’ of Pascoe Vale’s attacking duo of Andre Caro and Joao Da Silva teaming up to try and get past the leagues best keeper in Dianoosh Rasoulzadeh. A game surely not to be missed by anyone!
Ashburton FC v CF Brunswick (7-7)
The game between Ashburton and Brunswick was always going to be a battle, as both sides were battling for vital positions on the ladder – even though they are at opposite ends. Brunswick (5th) are aiming to break into the top 4 and Ashburton (9th) are just hoping to crack the top 8. Brunswick, who normally field an unchanged line-up were going to be without both keeper Brendan Chen and defender Antonis Apostolakis – key players for the reds, but they also regained utility Damir Marusic. The first half scoring was opened by Brunswick’s star player, and Futsalroo, Danny Ngaluafe – a player who has had to lift in recent weeks, and he was off to a great start. Then as both sides traded blows, Moe Alghorabi added Ashburtn’s first, but that was soon cancelled out by Munya Nyadzayo’s first of the night. Then with the scores at 2-1 in the reds favour, it was all Ashburton from then on as James Blackburn added 3 and Mark Burton scored 1 to leave the half time score at 5-2. The opening of the second half saw Ashburton continue their domination as Blackburn bagged his fourth and Dima Nichiforenco came off the bench to make it 7-2. At this point the reds were missing keeper Chen, as fill-in Sam Stewart seemed out of sorts. But all wasn’t lost, as the boys from Brunswick made a resurgent fight back. Damir Marusic began the resurgence with an impressive strike, then regular strike pair Ruz Roslan and Nyadzayo combined to add 1 and 2 goals respectively. This then left the score at 7-6 with only minutes remaining. With the game in the balance, Ashburton’s cry for another defender was again sounded, as Brunswick’s talisman, Danny Ngaluafe, converted a late penalty and levelled the game at 7-7. And that’s how the game ended. Brunswick had a re-shuffle at the back and got away with a point, and Ashburton with only one recognised defender on the list – Alghorabi – will be eagerly awaiting the round 11 transfer window as the search for a defender continues. Giving up a 7-2 lead in the second half is unforgiveable.
Hume FC v FC Balwyn (4-5)
The last clash of round 8 saw 6th placed Hume FC against a winless Balwyn side languishing in 12th. Hume would’ve fancied their chances to take all three points after a hard-fought win over Melbourne last week, and if Hume manager Amin Keddad had done his homework on his opposition, he would have told his troops to be wary of Balwyn who never back down from a challenge, and coming off a 4-2 loss to champions Pascoe Vale, Balwyn were brimming with confidence. Could tonight be the night they claim their first points? The first half didn’t start off in the greatest fashion as Hume went 2-0 up in a flash as Turhan Sumbol and Moe Nabir both combined to have a hand in each other’s goals. As the half went on, Balwyn found their way into the game (along with some brilliant 1 on 1 defending from Mark Saric), and then eventually found a goal as hardened defender Tony Saric executed a fine ‘turn and shoot’ combo. Balwyn’s confidence grew even more after the first goal, which then led to youngster Johnny Nikolokoudis completing a beautiful little dink over Hume keeper Con Makris to make it 2-2 at the break. Captain Tony Imeri then shot his Balwyn boys into the lead after the break, much to the delight of manager Matt Obeid who rode every wave of emotion with his players. Then when Nabir and Sumbol scored in succession, Obeid was certainly riding tsunami-like waves! The score was 4-3 and all looked lost, but a late second half fight back from Balwyn saw Imeri complete his double and then when Simon Menichelli slotted underneath Makris’s legs, the comeback was finally complete! Balwyn had their first win of the season! And although Hume had the better chances in the dying moments, Balwyn held on for a well deserved win. It provides a good confidence boost ahead of their clash with North Melbourne next week. Hume are to face Pascoe Vale. Hopefully Nejdet Sahin and Resit Culculoglu will be made available as they will certainly be needed.
Round 8 NIKE V-League Premiership ladder (Quick Points-only version)
- North Melbourne FC – 22
- Pascoe Vale FC – 19
- Metropolitan FC – 16
- Fitzroy FC – 15
- CF Brunswick – 12
- FC Essendon – 10
- Hume FC – 9
- FC Prahran – 8
- Ashburton FC – 8
- FC Melbourne – 6
- Albert Park FC – 4
- FC Balwyn – 3
V-League 2011 Top Goal Scorers
- J. Blackburn AFC – 20
- A. Redzepovic Metro FC – 16
- T. Sumbol HFC – 16
- M. Nyadzayo CFB – 16
- A. Stevanovic FCE – 16
Round 8 Wednesday June 22
- 6:30 Nth Melbourne FC v FC Melbourne 10-5
- 7:15 Albert Park FC v FC Essendon 4-4
- 8:00 Metropolitan FC v FC Prahran 3-3
- 8:45 Fitzroy FC v Pascoe Vale FC
- 9:30 Hume FC v FC Balwyn 4-5
- 10:15 Ashburton FC v CF Brunswick 7-7
Round 9 Wednesday June 29
- 6:30 Albert Park FC v FC Prahran
- 7:15 Metropolitan FC v Fitzroy FC
- 8:00 North Melbourne FC v FC Balwyn
- 8:45 Hume FC v Pascoe Vale FC
- 9:30 Ashburton FC v FC Melbourne
- 10:15 CF Brunswick v FC Essendon
Go to futsaloz.tv to see video highlights of all the matches.