Late drama ensures ladder re-shuffle
FC Melbourne v North Melbourne FC (0-6)
The first clash on the round 19 card was the Melbourne derby, where Melbourne in 10th place took on North Melbourne in pole position. The Melbourne line-up looked particularly thin by their usual standards, as Lee Dore and Fab De Britto were both missing. North on the other hand remained unchanged from last weeks win against Brunswick. The first half opened with Melbourne holding their own as they revealed their game plan by sitting back and absorbing all of the pressure that the North lads were piling on. But the underdogs could only keep out the brilliance of Fernando De Moraes for so long as he opened the scoring with a well timed 1-2 with Jon Barrientos. The current league leaders continued their domination soon after as Tiago Priori and Adam Cooper both hit the post, but Cooper went one better minutes later when he thumped Priori’s corner ball into the roof of the Melbourne net. Japanese midfielder, Hara Yoshinao made it 3-0 with a little dink over keeper, Harry Kitharidis and Colby Waterfield’s 5th foul penalty kick enforced their domination over their lower ranked opponents before half time. With having struggled to get a genuine shot on target in the first half, Melbourne had a little window of opportunity to get one back as Dominik Rafati and Mael Gulliou made very similar and effective runs into the “D” and had open nets to shoot into, but were unable to convert. To be fair they were under extreme pressure from North’s defence. Determined to keep their first clean sheet of the year, North bounced back to score two more goals through Jon Barrientos and Yoshinao who top scored for his side with a double for a comfortable 6-0 win. Melbourne battled quite well for not having a clear avenue to goal in their line up, but it was an impossible task to defeat a North Melbourne side who are so close to their first piece of silverware under Milton Sakkos they can taste it! Melbourne, as always will bounce back and they will be fancying their chances against Ashburton next week. But goal scorers are a necessity.
FC Prahran v Metropolitan FC (5-6)
The second game of the night was an outright glamour clash as 5th positioned Prahran took on Metropolitan who were in 6th and in red-hot form as they have won their last three games – including their round 13 catch-up game win over Melbourne last Sunday in which they triumphed 8-4. There were significant inclusions for both sides as Michael Chami replaced Dima Shakhanov in goals along with Marcus Barbosa, while Metro welcomed back enforcer Irzad Spijodic after a 7 round absence. The opening half started with a bang as Prahran’s in form striker, Maxi Avram scored from distance while sneaking the ball in from a ridiculous angle. Jusu Avdic then soon levelled the scores with a booming free-kick which went between the Prahran defensive wall. Minutes later, Irzad Spijodic in his first game back from injury put his body on the line yet again as he beat Michael Chami to a loose ball in the “D” and made it 2-1. Maxi Avram then hustled and bustled to get his side back into the game as he hit the inside of the right post, and then hit a shot across the goal-mouth to an awaiting Ben Armstrong at the back post, but he couldn’t hit home. Not taking their opportunities ended up hurting the Prahran boys as Metro captain, Dino Redzepovic made it 3-1 before half-time. It was goal for goal for a long while when the second half opened up. Alija scored a typical goal poachers goal to open the scoring, but Maxi Avram’s quick reply made it 4-2. Tomo Grgic’s 1-2 with Alija reinstated the sky blues three goal buffer, but again, Prahran replied through Cameron Holmes’ close range strike to make it 5-3. The red and blues could have levelled the scores as Marcus Barbosa hit the post and Clint Mogoai missed an open goal! But Mogoai and Barbosa made amends by scoring the next two goals and levelling the game at 5-5 with the final whistle nearing. As both teams searched for a winner, it was little Alija Redzepovic that claimed the winner after bettering Michael Chami in a 1 on 1 situation. Cameron Holmes could have levelled the scores with seconds remaining but he was gloriously denied by the right post. It was Metro’s 4th win on the trot and they are looking to be finding form at the right end of the season as the cup is only three rounds away.
CF Brunswick v Ashburton FC (7-7)
The third game scheduled to take place on the card saw Brunswick in 4th pitted against Ashburton in 9th. Ashburton remained unchanged from last weeks disappointing loss to Albert Park last week, while Brunswick were without defender Damir Marusic, missing through a red card suspension. The first half started more brightly for the boys in red, as Ruz Roslan’s shot from distance gave Brunswick an early lead, but a clumsy challenge in the “D” by reds keeper, Brendan Chen gifted Ashburton a penalty which James Blackburn calmly converted to level the game. Blackburn then surprisingly sent his side into the lead as he was given too much space to shoot from distance at Chen’s goal. Danny Ngaluafe pulled the scores level soon after, but it was Blackburn’s beautifully timed strike from distance that gave the green machine a slender and unlikely lead at half time. The second half started similar to the first as a Munya Nyadzayo double sent the red’s back in front 4-3. Ashburton’s captain, Manny Karas, led by example by bagging the equaliser, but his efforts were soon cancelled out by Roslan and Munya who reinstated their lead at 5-4. Ashburton’s Moe Alghorabi has one of the biggest hearts in the league and relishes in the heat of battle and he showed his worth by levelling the scores against the trend of play. Alghorabi’s inspiring goal off the bench swung momentum into Ashburton’s favour and Blackburn continued the momentum as he scored his 4th and gave the greens the lead with only a minutes remaining on the clock. It was quite an entertaining final few minutes we were treated to as Brunswick hit the post twice through Mathieu Piga and Munya, but the biggest moment of the game was when Munya was given a close penalty spot kick to level the scores, but Ashburton’s keeper, Jamie Tran read his moves like a book and made an unlikely save. From the resulting corner, Ngaluafe with a stunning strike under pressure levelled the game at 6 apiece! A mere 20 seconds remained and the drama was not yet over, as Blackburn was given a free-kick which he quickly hit past a 4-man wall to an unmarked Mark Burton at the back-post for the winner! It was truly an amazing game! One that will be remembered by both sides in seasons to come, and it may be a result that sees Ashburton claim that all important 8th spot to see top flight futsal next season!
Pascoe Vale FC v Fitzroy FC (8-6)
The third blockbuster of the night saw top four rivals, Pascoe Vale in 2nd go up against Fitzroy in 3rd. Pascoe Vale boosted their goal keeping stocks by recruiting young NSW keeper, Mark Brackering, while Fitzroy also had a keeper change with regular #1 Steve Cuce unavailable and being replaced by Anthony Lascala. Chris Yang also came back into the side replacing George Mc Heileh. Pascoe Vale got off to a strong and unsurprising start as Adam Husseini, Joao Da Silva and Ahmed Azzam got on the scoresheet. Lucas Johns pulled one back for the youngsters as he turned Andre Caro and finished between Greg Lascaris’ legs. That single goal seemed to give Fitzroy a little confidence, but that confidence was soon quelled as Da Silva bobbed up and scored the next two goals completing a first half hat-trick and the 5-1 score line. Pascoe Vale’s confidence grew greater in the second half as Andre Caro shot from a ridiculous angle and caught Lascala unaware. Richie Ferguson, a former Pascoe Vale player instrumented a mini-comeback as he added two quick goals to reduce the deficit to 6-3. Da Silva with his fourth sent his toe-poker into the top right corner of Lascala’s net to kill of any kind of Fitzroy attack, but the energetic youngsters – with nothing to loose – somehow clawed their way back as Stephen Gustus and Richie Ferguson’s 3rd and 4th goals of the game made it 7-6 with very little time on the clock. It seemed a nervy debut by the young Brackering of Pascoe Vale, but his blushes were spared as Da Silva slotted past Lascala for his 5th, an 8-6 win and a man of the match performance. It was a brave performance by the Fitzroy boys, but it could have been a different result if they had the belief that they could defeat last seasons champions at the start of the game. A promising sign that the boys in yellow will be a force to be reckoned with for the upcoming FOz Cup. Whereas Pascoe Vale have Da Silva to thank for his get out of jail card!
FC Essendon v Albert Park FC (3-3)
The heart stopping encounters continued long into the night as 7th placed Essendon did battle with an Albert Park side who were still beaming after their hard-fought 4-2 win over Ashburton last week. There were new inclusions for both squads as Vlado Zoric joined Essendon, while Jaffar Al-Sari and Michael Garcia pulled on the Orange strip for Albert Park. The opening half began with Essendon completely dominating their lowly ranked opponents as Alex Stevanovic and Hooman Shekari both hit the post within minutes, but it was reds debutant, Vlado Zoric who led the way for his new side when Alex Stevanovic set him up for a 1 on 1 with keeper Kurt Fanourakis and Zoric’s shot curved around Kurt and off the left post. Stevanovic then made it 2-0 almost immediately after kick-off after he put away a save that Fanourakis made from Zoric and he couldn’t hold onto. As time was running out in the first half, Mili Muratbegovic gave his side a life line as he toe poked from distance past Anthony Cianflone and made it 2-1 at the first break. The second half saw a lot more action from both sides as Felipe Rilling levelled the game for Albert Park as he headed in Jaffar Al-Sari’s deflected shot from close range. Al-Sari then came close to giving Albert Park the lead as his shot from half way beat Cianflone and came back off the post, it came back to bite the lads in orange as Hooman Shekari put Essendon back into the lead when he chipped Kurt from close range. Albert Park, desperate to get back into the game threw everything at Essendon as they dominated they final minutes of play, and they were rewarded for their endeavour as in the remaining 10 seconds of play, Kurt’s long throw found Rodrigo in the “D” who coolly back-heeled the equaliser to make it two results in two weeks for the leagues cellar dwellers. In all honesty, Essendon should have been able to hold on for the win, but it just goes to show that it’s never over until that final whistle blows. Essendon now are not guaranteed a cup position with only six points from safety and three games remaining. The really need to put their heads down and find form before the cup…. And fast!
FC Balwyn v Hume FC (7-4)
To wrap up the night, the spectators were treated to a clash of great importance as Hume in 8th took on a fresh Balwyn side in 11th who had a bye last week. The only inclusion for Hume was debutant Ahmet Karasakal, while they would miss the services of Enrique Iglesias and George Harrison. The first half opened with plenty of chances for Hume to take the lead, as Haider Noor called keeper, Frano Saric into a top shelf save and burly defender, Tony Saric saved Sacid Cicek’s off the line to maintain the 0-0 score-line. David Straniero, in his first game for Balwyn in 5 weeks, put his side into the lead as he scored two well taken goals in quick succession. Straniero could have had a third just before the break, but the brillance of Hume keeper Con Makris denied him and left the score at 2-0. The second half saw a lot more activity from both sides, but it was Hume who drew first blood when Diego Assaeda made a dashing run from halfway and side footed easily past Frano. Straniero was again on hand to reinstate their two goal lead, but as Hume have done on so many occasions, they scrapped their way back as Cicek turned Mark Saric and his strike just beat Frano over the line, although Mark got his revenge when he streamed forward and slotted home a beautifully crafted goal along with the help of Jason Barrientos. With the score at 4-2, Cicek again got his side back into the game with what many have labelled goal of the week as he coolly chipped Frano, despite the keeper getting a finger or two to the goal-bound strike. But from that point on, it was all Balwyn as Jason Barrientos’ fierce toe-poke took a wicked deflection and into Makris’ top right corner, and with Straniero’s 4th and 5th goals of the game, it wrapped up the whites 5th win of the season and gave their chances of survival for next season a huge boost! All there was time left for was a late consolation goal by Cicek who capped off an impressive game with a hat-trick. From this point you would bet that Balwyn will claim the final cup position as they are playing with a fierce intensity that will be hard for any team to overcome. They are playing as a team and for each other and should fancy their chances against North next week as they certainly have the calibre of players to challenge the leagues best side!
Top Goal Scorers:
- A. Stevanovic FCE – 41
- A. Redzepovic Metro FC – 40
- J. Blackburn AFC – 39
- M. Avram FCP – 38
- M. Nyadzayo CFB – 32
Round 19 Wednesday September 7
- 6:30 FC Melbourne v Nth Melbourne FC 0 – 6
- 7:15 FC Prahran v Metropolitan FC 5 – 6
- 8:00 CF Brunswick v Ashburton FC 7 – 7
- 8:45 Pascoe Vale FC v Fitzroy FC 8 – 6
- 9:30 FC Essendon v Albert Park FC 3 – 3
- 10:15 FC Balwyn v Hume FC 7 – 4
Round 13 Sunday September 4
- 1:00 Metropolitan FC v FC Melbourne 8 – 4
Round 20 Wednesday September 14
- 6:30 FC Melbourne v Ashburton FC
- 7:15 FC Essendon v CF Brunswick
- 8:00 FC Prahran v Albert Park FC
- 8:45 Pascoe Vale FC v Hume FC
- 9:30 FC Balwyn v North Melbourne FC
- 10:15 Fitzroy FC v Metropolitan FC
Go to futsaloz.tv to see video highlights of all the matches.