Campione, campione, ole ole ole” rang out as Maccabi Futsal Club celebrated its penalty shootout victory over West City Crusaders in the Open Men’s Super League grand final.
It was a sweet and justified win for the side that finished the regular season with ten wins from as many matches. The match began at a frantic pace with both teams exemplifying the crafty skills that led them to the top of the competition ladder.
For the opening ten minutes, a majority of the play was settled in the middle of the court with neither team ready to break from their own style. It was a case of waiting for the first move and after the first shot on goal, the attack opened up. It took 12 minutes for the opening goal, which came through Maccabi’s Futsalroos representative Jarrod Basger.
Crusaders pressed for the remainder of the first half but focused on possession play and were unable to find an equaliser. The second period told a different story with Maccabi pressing hard to secure a comfortable lead. The Crusaders were frustrated by some resilient Maccabi defence and they were thwarted by a darting Jarrod Basger run which was cut to the back post and finished off by Brett Rosenberg.
The Maccabi players celebrated ecstatically and West City pounced on their momentary lapse of concentration, pegging a goal back just one minute later when David McMurray’s shot was deflected into the goal. With 14 minutes left on the clock, the championship was well and truly up for grabs. Both sides looked sturdy in defence and potent in attack as the Crusaders squandered some good chances and Maccabi had a shot cleared off the line.
With the last kick of the game, a Crusaders corner was neatly finished on the volley by Daniel Fogarty to send the match into extra time.
Both goalkeepers were tested in extra time but neither side came close to sealing the match. Crusaders and Maccabi missed their opening penalties before West City missed a further two shots and Maccabi made no mistake, burying the final penalty for the win.
There was a feeling of sweet revenge for Maccabi coach Gareth Naar who saw his side slump to a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Crusaders in the major semi final.
“We did everything right tactically,” he said.
“What they did to us two weeks ago hurt and it brought us back together.
“The game was ours, we were intense from the start and our defence was fantastic.”
Maccabi had a number of opportunities to close the match in normal time, but couldn’t find the final spark. Regardless, Mr Naar believes they have potential to be playing in the Futsal Premier League.
“I was feeling pretty confident at 2-0…they had to go for it which left them a lot of space at the back and we created chances but unfortunately it didn’t fall our way in terms of finishing.
“They should be playing a level up and hopefully we will get them there soon.
“The club is going big places and we just want to continue that.
“It’s a strong group, we are good mates and we do it for the love of the game and the love of each other.”
Maccabi’s Jarrod Basger and Crusaders’ Daniel Fogarty will fly out with the Futsalroos later this week to compete for Australia in the ASEAN qualifiers for the 2012 AFC Futsal Championship.
Maccabi Hakoah: 79. F. Chiarella, 18. L. Lewis, 16. J. Basger, 7. J. Mundell, 20. D. Pozinak Subs: 67. A. Knchick, 21. B. Rosenberg, 5. S. Yates, 17. N. Fisher, 3. P. Meltz, 4. D. Dutra
Goals: J. Basger 12′, B. Rosenberg 40′
West City Crusaders: 1. R. Greenway, 8. B. Lam, 7. D. McMurray, 6. B. Riley, 4. S. Matanagh Subs: 17. L. Freitas, 24 J. Miller, 25. D. Fogarty, 2. A. Mangar, B. Zipri
Goals: Own Goal 42′, D. McMurray 50′
Referees: C. Bruce, G. South, D. Allatt