Maccabi had very good preparations in the lead up to the second game to be played against GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC of China in the AFC Futsal Club Championship Qualifiers at Pho Tho Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
It was a nervous and flat start for the guys. In the 3rd minute of the match some quick passing and poor defending allowed no.13 Eli Antonio Do Nascimento Junior for GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC to score. Eli is one of two Brazilian full time professional Futsal players in the Chinese Club side. No.16 Vinicius who was not eligible for this game due to competitions rules; is the other full time professional.
Towards the middle of the half Maccabi improved on the defence, this decreased the number of chances on their goal but despite the slight improvement GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC no.5 Yihui scored in the 10th minute. Not long after in the 13th minute a solo effort by Maccabi no.12 Fulton down the right hand side of the court allowed him to get a shot on target, despite slipping his skill still allowed him to score; aided by a deflection off one of the GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC players into their net.
Just prior to the end of the 1st half Maccabi kept more possession and started to look better on the ball. However one of the most skillful and the tallest players in the Championships was Chinese no.5 Yihui scored in the 18th minute to make it 3 – 1 to GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC. Also just prior to the stroke of half time Maccabi no.9 Basger was shown the yellow card by Referee Haddad of Kuwait for bad tackle on no.8 Bin from GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC.
The second half was started in a much better fashion by Maccabi; much more determination and movement on and off the ball. The half time team talk by Coach Gareth Naar did wonders, positive talk amongst all the players lead by no.11 Downie was on show.
This positive approach and good feeling in the team allowed Maccabi no.9 Basger to score in the 24th minute, no.7 Mundell and no.2 Lewis featured in the build-up. Just as Maccabi pegged one back the GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC no. 18 Zhirui came from out of space to score in the 25th minute to put more pressure on the guys from the Australian Club making it 4 – 2.
Despite the pressure of 4 goals against them the Maccabi boys seamed encouraged and started to hold much more possession and control of the game. At this point most of the GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC players started to fatigue. Some great full court pressing game play, allowed Maccabi no.5 De Melo to score in the 34th minute on a pass to the centre from no.7 Mundell. With 6 minutes remaining the game was far from over.
With 5 minutes remaining GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC called a time out to catch up to the Maccabi team as the momentum was swinging towards the Australian Club. Just as play resumed GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC no.5 Yihui was shown the yellow card by Referee Khalaileh of Jordan for dissent by action, in kicking the ball away.
A last ditch effort was on show by the Maccabi team. Chance after chance fell before their feet unfortunately they could not capitalise on these, the 3rd pass in the combination got away from them at the back post or the shot on target was finger tipped saved by a very good goal keeper in GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC no.14 Yingnan.
As Maccabi applied even more pressure and lifted the games intensity the GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC player no.2 Yue in the 39th minute brought down a Maccabi player by professional foul going towards the Chinese Club’s goal, subsequently he was cautioned. The Maccabi free kick was off target. With only seconds to go another shot from Maccabi hit the left hand post and went wide making the final score 4 – 3 to GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC.
At the post match press conference;
GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC Coach Zhang Zhi said “I’ve been with this team for 3 years we’ve had very good preparations for this game; we are very happy with the result but the Australia Club team Maccabi gave us more trouble in the second half, we need to be very careful for our next game and improve our fitness”
GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC player no.13 Eli said “in the past I’ve played with one of these guys from Maccabi, their standard is good we are very happy we’ve renewed our friendship at this event in Vietnam”
Maccabi Coach Gareth Naar said “today we started flat and we then needed to chase the game, but our second half was a much better performance and for this I’m very proud that we went down fighting and giving it our best”
Maccabi no.12 Fulton said “despite the fact we are classified as amateur players we are just as professional, today we held full time professional Futsal players from China to only a 1 goal difference”
The Competition draw sees Maccabi have a rest day on Wednesday the 23rd March 2012. Unfortunately losing both games means they are on the plane home.
2012 AFC Futsal Club Championships Qualifiers
Pho Tho Stadium, Ho Chin Minh City, Vietnam
Maccabi FC (AUS) 3 – Fulton 13’, Basger 24’, De Melo 34’
GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC (CHI) 4 – Eli 3’, Yihui 10’ 18’, Zhirui 25’
Maccabi FC starting five: 2. L. Lewis, 7. J. Mundell, 12. D. Fulton, 17. F. Chiarella, 9. J. Basger
On bench: 1. D. Levin, 3. D. Dutra, 5. De Melo, 6. P. Meltz, 11. M. Downie, 10. D. Pozniak (c), 16. G Schipp
Substitute Not Used: 8 B.Rosenburg
Player not eligible: Nil
Yellow Cards: 9. Basger 20’
GuangZhou BaiYunShan FC starting five: 2. Yue, 5. Yihui, 11. Zhichao, 13. Eli, 14. Yingnan
On bench: 1. Wei, 8. Bin, 15. Jianlin, 17. Zhiqiang, 18. Zhirui
Player not eligible: 16. Vinicius
Yellow Cards: 5. Yihui 35’, 2. Yue 39’
Referees: Haddad (KUW), Khalaileh (JOR), Nasirloo (IRA), Shukhart (UZB)
Crowd estimate: 300
By Jonathan Simnett from Pho Tho Stadium, Ho Chin Minh City, Vietnam