Vic Vipers are the new F-League Men’s champions after an inspiring final weekend of competition at Dural Sport and Leisure Centre.
They did it tough – coming from behind to beat St Albans in the final round to claim the minor premiership, then edging out Boomerangs 4-3 in a nailbiting semi-final before eclipsing title holders Dural 4-0 in the final – but the victory was well deserved as Vipers look forward to representing Australia at the AFC club championship.
The team success also came with a personal achievement as Fernando de Moraes took out the 2013 Golden Boot with a scintillating 16 goals in 14 games (plus one in the final).
Warriors raid East Coast
Dural Warriors wrapped up second place on the ladder with a tough 5-2 victory over East Coast Heat at Dural Sport and Leisure Centre on Saturday morning.
Dural led 3-1 at the break and finished the job in the second to put the pressure back on Vipers.
Vipers hold off Strikers
Vic Vipers were made to work for a 5-2 win over St Albans Strikers at Dural Sport and Leisure Centre on Saturday morning, clinching the 2013 Men’s F-League minor premiership in the process.
St Albans were dazzling in the first half and led 2-1 at the change-over before a red card to star player Miguel Barrigos sparked a Vipers revival as they rattled in four unanswered goals to finish the regular rounds in first place.
Scorpions sting Jaguars
Sydney Scorpions won an entertaining bout with Jaguars 11-5 in the midday matinee at Dural Sport and Leisure Centre on Saturday.
Scorpions were 5-1 in front at the interval but a stirring second half performance from Jaguars helped them end a frustrating season on a somewhat positive note considering they did it with goalkeeper Riziere Cua on the sidelines with a red card.
The Sydneysiders moved into third following their victory to face defending champions Dural in the semis.
Heart break Boomerangs
Melbourne Heart held on for a thrilling 7-6 victory over Boomerangs at Dural Sport and Leisure Centre on Saturday afternoon.
Despite nothing to play for Melbourne clung to a 2-1 halftime lead and went blow for blow with a finals bound Boomerangs to finish the competition on a high.
The loss saw Boomerangs slip to fourth and a match-up with top side Vipers.
Vipers hold off Boomerangs
Vic Vipers marched into Sunday’s grand final with a tense 4-3 semi-final victory over a courageous Boomerangs at Dural Sport and Leisure Centre on Saturday evening.
It was edge-of-your-seats stuff as Boomerangs held the minor premiers to 1-1 at halftime and pushed for victory in the second, even goalkeeper Angelo Konstantinou getting his name on the scoresheet; but the Vics held their nerve to register a 4-3 fulltime edge.
Warriors down Scorpions
Dural Warriors finished off strongly to ground out an epic 8-6 semi-final win over Sydney Scorpions at Dural Sport and Leisure Centre on Saturday evening and advance to Sunday’s grand final against Vic Vipers.
In a spirited Sydney derby Dural turned a tight 3-2 halftime lead into a thrilling 8-6 victory, the result only soured by the sending off of star goalkeeper Alistair Bruce.
Vipers outwit Warriors
Vic Vipers are the new F-League Men’s champions following a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Dural Warriors.
Victor Brauner was the first to score for Vipers as they led 1-0 at the changeover, golden boot Fernando De Moraes extending the advantage moments after the restart.
The Warriors threw everything at the Vics but couldn’t find a breakthrough as late goals to Brauner and Thiago Priori rounded out the four-goal whitewash, the first time Dural’s been held scoreless in 36 F-League games.
Vic coach Milton Sakkos was elated. “There was a lot of nervous energy in the final round game against St Albans [the Strikes led at halftime only for Vipers to overpower them in the second half], but the win gave us a release and the confidence just grew after that,” he said.
“I’m really proud of the boys. It was a fantastic performance and a good way to finish off in the final. It was fairly close but we got the goals we needed as the game rolled on, and we had to defend pretty hard in the closing minutes. Christos [Apostolakis] had a really good game in goals for us, and Dural were unlucky not to score a few times – it just ran well for us.”
“Regardless of any competition our philosophy is to always give it a red hot go and do the best we can. It just happened for us this year with results going our way, but I always had faith in the quality of the players to get us to the top and we worked hard to have a good plan in place to support the boys.”
Sakkos applauded the F-League’s top four sides for making 2013 a highly competitive tournament and he looked forward to taking part in the AFC club championship.
“The F-League is a great concept and we need this kind of premier format outside of the nationals to keep developing players at the highest level,” he said. “I think the investment in this competition can only benefit the sport as a whole and the AFC hook is massive for clubs to try and be a part of.”
“Our expectations need to be realistic at the next level and we need to do our homework, but as a club and brand the F-League title is something we can market to future players – a national championship always raises eyebrows.
“On a personal level it was great to see eight players used that we developed through our own programs, but I’d like to congratulate all the boys… I’m pretty sure a few of them have gained even more exposure through this win, so it’s all been positive for us.”
Dural coach Rob Varela rued the missed chance to reclaim their title but dipped his hat to their conquerors.
“I’m very disappointed with the end result. I would like to congratulate Vipers on their win, but the game for us was one of missed opportunities as we repeatedly failed to convert the many goal scoring chances we created,” he said.
“We tried very hard until the end but Vipers took their opportunities much better than us on the day. Now we regroup and work hard and try to defend our NSW Premier League title which we know will be a very hard task against tough opposition.”
Dural Warriors 5 (Ben Lawson, Greg Giovenali, Daine Merrin, Wade Giovenali) East Coast Heat 2 (Jordan Guerreiro x2)
Vic Vipers 5 (Fernando De Moraes x3, Thiago Priori x2) St Albans Strikers 2 (Tom Grgic, Danny Ngaluafe)
Sydney Scorpions 11 (Robert Foti x4, Marino Musumeci x2, Patrick Pace x2, Danny Martinez, T. Mascarello, Daniel Fogarty) Jaguars 5 (Abel Bahiru x4, Jermaine Deng)
Melbourne Heart 7 (Scott Fenn x5, Callum Davies, Madoc Brummel) Boomerangs (Nick Rathjen x2, Daniel Fulton)
Vic Vipers 4 (Victor Brauner x2, Diego Garcia, John Barrientos) Boomerangs 3 (Callum Smith, Angelo Konstantinou)
Dural Warriors 8 (Wade Giovenali x3, Toby Seeto x2, Greg Giovenali x2, Ben Lawson) Sydney Scorpions 6 (Daniel Fogarty x2, Patrick Pace x2, Marino Musumeci, Danny Martinez)
Vic Vipers 4 (Victor Brauner 12/34, Fernando De Moraes 22, Thiago Priori 40) Dural Warriors 0