AUCKLAND – Bakr al-Saudi created history for the Futsal Whites scoring New Zealand’s first goal in a FIFA-sanctioned international on home soil, but it wasn’t enough as Australia claimed the ASB Trans Tasman Cup with a 6-1 win.
The final score flattered the visitors, who netted three goals inside the final sixty seconds when Futsal Whites coach Scott Gilligan rolled the dice and deployed skipper Marvin Eakins as a ‘flying goalkeeper’ in the final few minutes, and failed to reflect the closeness of the match.
There was a moment to savour for the hosts in the 36th minute when Bakr al-Saudi scored the historic first-ever Futsal Whites goal on New Zealand soil much to the delight of the 600 spectators who turned out at ASB Stadium.
“It was an absolute honour and a great thrill to get something for the crowd and the boys,” said al-Saudi whose goal brought the Futsal Whites back into the match after they conceded three Futsalroos goals to Fernando de Moraes, Jared Basger and Nathan Niski.
But it was little more than a consolation in the wash-up after Eakins was thrust into an unfamiliar role playing as a fifth man, essentially a power-play option to outnumber the opposition and create chances although Gilligan was unconcerned about the gamble.
“I’m not worried about the last three minutes because we had to try something and this is the place to try it, and we nearly scored from the first attack,” said Gilligan.
The Futsalroos came out strong and dictating the tempo of the match and holding onto the ball for much of the opening five minutes and pressing the Futsal Whites whenever they were in possession.
However, it was the Futsal Whites who had the first opening of the match when Micky Malivuk and James Vaughan linked up to create an opportunity for the former to force a top save from Australian custodian Angelo Konstantinou. Miro Major forced another save moments later with a drive from distance which was smothered easily.
The deadlock was broken in the 8th minute by the impressive de Moraes who thundered one in from an innocuous position midcourt after cutting in from the left. The goal seemed to kick the Futsalroos into gear and in a matter of minutes Plowright was called into action on three occasions.
De Moraes was causing havoc by this stage and his nonchalant step over was kicked clear by Plowright and the ensuing rebound was slammed against the upright by Daniel Fulton. It was the second time the framework was disturbed after Basger had earlier hit the base from an acute angle.
For the second time in as many matches Vaughan had the Futsal Whites best chance of the night when his snap shot was saved by Konstantinou.
Immediately after the half time interval the Futsal Whites enjoyed a period of sustained pressure, but four minutes into the second spell once again it was a de Moraes moment of magic resulted in a goal, a delicate lay off for teammate Basger, who took the ball in his stride while running at full pace before sliding home past Clayton Chappell.
Shortly after Chappell was unluckily beaten again after al-Saudi was guilty of showing too much of the ball to Niski in front of the Futsal Whites goal. The Futsalroo poked the ball home between the legs of al-Saudi and past Chappell to take the score to 3-0.
It was then the Futsal Whites turn to take the momentum back through Malivuk who almost created a moment of magic of his own when he spectacularly tried a lob from the sideline after Konstantinou charged out of his area to close the threat down.
Accumulated fouls became a factor for the Futsalroos, who gifted New Zealand an opportunity back into the match after a foul on Malivuk brought the tally to six for the half, and brought al-Saudi, something of a specialist, onto the court to smash the chance home from the spot.
With a sniff of a result Gilligan threw caution to the wind and Eakins was introduced when New Zealand has possession as the fifth man.
Unfortunately for the Futsal Whites the tactic did not bring another goal and in quick succession Australia had the ball in the New Zealand net three times, first to Daniel Fogarty and a brace to Jarrod Basger to complete his hat-trick.
With just over 12 hours until the third test rest and recuperation will be key as Futsal Whites captain Eakins pointed out.
“The bodies are pretty sore, we’ve worked hard all week, and we’ve had a couple of tough matches but we’re well looked after and we’ll get a good night’s rest and see how we go tomorrow.”
The final match of the ASB Trans Tasman Cup kicks off at 12noon on Sunday afternoon, with other activities on from 9.00am.
ASB Trans Tasman Cup
ASB Stadium, Kohimarama, Auckland
Match 2 – September 22
New Zealand 1 (Bakr al-Saudi 36’)
Australia 6 (Fernando de Moraes 8’; Jarrod Basger 24’, 39’, 39’; Nathan Niski 30’; Dan Fogarty 39’)
New Zealand: 1-Clayton CHAPPELL (gk); 2-James VAUGHAN; 3-Dylan MANICKUM; 4- Bakr AL-SAUDI; 5-Miro MAJOR; 6-Jan FISCHER 7-Marvin EAKINS (c); 8-Daniel BURNS; 9-Jakub SINKORA; 10-Lucas SILVA; 11-Micky MALIVUK; 12-David PLOWRIGHT (gk); 13-Elliot COLLIER; 14-Tai BARHAM
Coach: Scott GILLIGAN
Australia: 1-Peter SPATHIS (gk); 2-Daniel FULTON; 3-Jarrod BASGER; 4-Dean LOCKHART; 5-Keenan DUIMPIES; 6-Andreas GOMEZ; 7-Tobias SEETO; 8-Fernando DE MORAES; 9-Daniel FOGARTY; 10-Lachlan WRIGHT; 11-Shervin ADELI; 13-Angelo KOSTANTINOU (gk); 12-Roberto MAIORANA; 14-Aaron CIMITLE; 15-Nathan NISKI
Coach: Steven KNIGHT
ASB Trans-Tasman Cup
New Zealand v Australia
ASB Stadium, Kohimarama, Auckland
Match Three: Sunday 23 September, 12:00pm
Adults – $10 per game / $15 for all three Students and U-20s free entry.
Sunday 23 September
9:00am: U-10s showcase game
9:30am-10.15am: ‘Have a go’ open session
10:15am: U-12s showcase game