An eight goal second half blitz saw the Qantas Futsalroos overturn a 2-3 half-time deficit to see off the challenge of the Solomon Islands 10-3 in their latest FIFA Futsal World Cup warm-up match in Bangkok, Thailand.
A hat-trick from Daniel Ngaulafe and doubles from Jarrod Basger and Aaron Cimitile helped the Qantas Futsalroos come back from behind against a plucky Solomon’s outfit that had secured a stunning victory over hosts Thailand 24 hours earlier.
There was little indication of the goal avalanche to come in a fractured first half display from the Qantas Futsalroos who lacked incision in their passing and looked exceedingly lacklustre in their movements in what was a largely forgettable opening twenty minutes. However, after some stern words at the break, the team re-emerged from the changing rooms on a mission to right their first-half wrongs.
Earlier the Qantas Futsalroos had got off to a blinding start by opening the scoring in only the third minute of the encounter. Having dominated possession from the outset the Qantas Futsalroos struck when skipper Greg Giovenali broke away and squared across the face of goal for the onrushing Basger who had the easiest of tasks to tap into the empty net.
The lead lasted barely three minutes though as the Solomon Islands hit back with Mathias Saru tapping in following a quick-fire passing move that opened up the Qantas Futsalroos defence.
Worse was to follow as the Islanders took a shock lead, catching the Qantas Futsalroos napping with a set-play from a corner that Samuel Osifelo thrashed past Gavin O’Brien.
The response was immediate though and Daniel Fogarty skipped past a challenge to slam a shot in off the post and over the line, via the help of a Solomon’s defender. The feisty Fogarty then blotted his copybook by being sent off for a rash challenge in the centre of the court leaving the Qantas Futsalroos down to four men for two minutes. A below-par first half showing was confirmed just before the break as Elliot Ragomo was left unmarked to clip a finish beyond O’Brien.
It was a different story after the interval though as the Qantas Futsalroos dominated. Lachlan Wright and Fernando De Moraes tested the reflexes of the Solomon Island’s goalkeeper in quick succession before the Qantas Futsalroos drew level. Wright provided the moment of magic, rounding a defender and lashing a shot into the far corner.
That goal sparked a glut and in the space of three minutes the Qantas Futsalroos put the match beyond their opponents. Basger crashed a shot into the roof of the net to give them the lead once again and, seconds later, Aaron Cimitile made it five. The skilful Cimitile added his second less than sixty seconds later deceiving his marker via a step-over before cutting inside and arrowing a low shot inside the near post.
At the other end O’Brien made a brace of decent saves to preserve the three-goal cushion as Australia remained firmly in command. Danny Ngaulafe now took centre stage with a seven minute treble. The first was created by the hold-up play of De Moraes who played a superb flick into the path of Ngaulafe who finished via the inside of the near post to make the score 7-3.
Nathan Niski got in on the act by volleying in the eighth after a sweet cross from the impressive Keenan Duimpies, and it was nine three minutes from the final whistle as Ngaulafe rounded the goalkeeper and, after seeing his shot cleared off the line, was rather lucky to have it rebound off his stomach and into the net.
If that was fortunate though, there was nothing fortuitous about the goal that completed his hat-trick and brought up double figures. De Moraes was again involved holding up the ball and laying off a sweet pass to Ngaulafe who hammered a shot from just outside the area and into the back of the net.
That rounded off a fine second half showing from the Qantas Futsalroos who finished strongly and look to be in good shape as their fitness told during the latter part of the match. The team now have a 48 break before they take on Morocco in their penultimate warm-up clash.
Qantas Futsalroos 10 (Jarrod Basger 3’/27’, Daniel Fogarty 10’, Lachlan Wright 24’, Aaron Cimitile 27’/28’, Danny Ngaulafe 34’/37/38’, Nathan Niski 34’)
Solomon Islands 3 (Mathias Saru 6’, Samuel Osifelo 10’, Elliot Ragomo 18’)