ASH: M. Matar, R. Ferguson, J. Jiminez, R. Castro, V. Zoric (OG), S. Castvan (OG)
MICK: I. Filipovic 3, E. Huynh 2, V. Zoric
To open up proceedings for the penultimate Round of the 2013 season we saw Ashburton take on top 8 hopefuls Mickleham. In recent weeks both of these sides have put in some very impressive performances and today’s encounter was no exception. There was no surprise that both teams couldn’t be separated at the break as goals from Ashburton’s Moe Matar and new recruit Ricky Castro cancelled out Eric Huynh’s double to tie the scores at 2-2. The second half was just as tightly contested as the first as you could really feel the desperation from both squads in the need to collect the three points. Mickleham’s Ignat Filipovic continued his fine form in front of goal with yet another bag of three, but the bustling forwards efforts couldn’t halt Ashburton from clawing their way back with majors from Richie Ferguson and Joaquin Jiminez – who was looking in top form – while two own goals from Mickleham’s Vlado Zoric and keeper Steve Castvan allowed the green Machine to sneak into a 6-5 lead late in the game. Eager to make up for his costly own goal, Vlado Zoric was able to stream forward with less that five minutes on the clock to slot underneath Ashburton keeper Con Makris to level at 6-6. Although they led 5-3 at one point in the second half, Mickleham showed how far they had come in recent weeks as they kept their heads down, worked hard and didn’t lose focus to in the end salvage a point which could go a long way in seeing the current 8th ranked side play top flight futsal in 2013/14.
Man of the Match: Ignat Filipovic (Mickleham)
Probably one of the in form strikers at present time, Filipovic has put in performance after performance to play a major role in his sides revival. Three important goals in the second half made sure that Ashburton were put under extreme pressure and if not for a strong showing from Castro, Jiminez and Armellini, Mickleham would have had their 9th win of the season.
VV: M. Avram, L. Stringer, Jas. Barrientos
MET: D. Redzepovic 3, T. Grgic 3, A. Husseini
The second game on the card for Round 21 saw old rivals Vic Vipers and Metropolitan take to the pitch. Although the Vipers have had some indifferent performances in recent weeks, they were buoyed by the shaky showing Metro displayed against Moreland last Wednesday night where they let a 5-0 lead slip and needed a Dino Redzepovic winner two minutes from time. If Metro were indeed going to win the 2013 title, they couldn’t afford to drop their guard even for a second and with hungry defender Adam Husseini back in the side he would make sure they stayed on track. The Sky blues went into a well earned 2-1 half time lead as Dino Redzepovic and Tomo Grgic scored to overcome Jason Barrientos’ single strike for the Vipers. With their lower ranked opponents battling hard and still within striking distance, Metro really needed to get a jump on the Vipers and they got their wish as both Dino and Grgic scored doubles to complete their match hat tricks, while Adam Husseini scored an absolute screamer from distance which had keeper Liam Digby rooted to the spot. The Vipers had pulled a couple of goals back through stand in captain Maxi Avram and Laban Stringer but it wasn’t going to be enough as the driven Metro had their eyes fixated on the three points to apply the pressure on Pascoe Vale who take on Hume in the next game.
Man of the Match: Adam Husseini (Metropolitan)
The wily defender for Metro was absent in the midweek game against Moreland. In a game which almost cost them the title due to underestimating a dangerous opponent, Husseini’s determination and encouragement galvanised his team mates to make sure the same outcome would not happen again. Leadin by example, Husseini was hardly beaten all night putting his body on the line with tackle after tackle. Husseini capped off his man of the match performance with possibly the goal of the week, a long range effort which was driven into the top left corner.
HME: G. Harrison
PV: L. Kruel 3, S. Soufi 2
After watching title rivals Metropolitan demolish the Vic Vipers in the previous game, Pascoe Vale knew that the pressure was all on them to reclaim first place on the ladder. But that task wouldn’t be easy as they faced third placed and the fiercely determined Hume. In recent meetings, these two heavyweights of the V-League have had some famous encounters, but this time around there was a lot more at stake so there would be no mucking around from the current champions. To open the first half, Hume put up a fight in the opening ten minutes as they held the title favourites scoreless, but there was no real genuine threat on goal. Wanting to take the sting out of Hume early on, Pascoe Vale got straight down to business racing to a 3-0 lead with two goals from their talisman Sofiane Soufi and a single from Lucas Kruel. Buoyed by their first half showing, Pascoe continued their run of momentum with the opening goal of the second period through Kruel who doubled his match tally. Hume soon pulled a goal back midway through the half after George Harrison streamed forward to finish from close range past keeper Lorenzo De Paris who had appeared seemingly impenetrable. But just as the Army were mounting a comeback, captain and inspirational leader Resit Culculoglu was sent off for a second yellow card which almost instantly put the final nail in Hume’s coffin. The cherry on top of the Pascoe Vale cake was added by Kruel who claimed his third of the game with only minutes remaining and you could see the relief on all of those in black and white as they had reclaimed top spot on the ladder going into the final round of the season. What a finale to the title race we are going to have, quite possibly the most exciting in recent times. But if Pascoe are indeed to become NIKE VLP champs for the fifth time in their short history, they should lear to conduct themselves on the pitch in such a manner. Pumping yourself up by screaming out after scoring a goal or pulling off a big save is understandable, but seemingly yelling at your opponent for simply blocking a pass is surely a step too far as is shouting from the bench. When will enough be enough and where can the line be drawn? Pascoe vale should just drop the mind games and simply stick to what they do best. Playing beautiful futsal. Because sometimes the way they conduct themselves on the pitch can be quite ugly.
Man of the Match: Lorenzo De Paris (Pascoe Vale)
Probably De Paris’ best performance thus far in 2013. Commanding his defence and pulling out top drawer saves, De Paris had seemingly found his mojo and in the nick of time in their biggest game of the season. To only concede one goal against one of the most dangerous sides in the league is a feat not to be taken lightly.
BWK: C. Mogoai 2, J. Portillo
FTZ: M. Burton 3, F. De Moraes 2, B. Monteleone 2, A. Fusca, J. Portillo (OG)
Most of the games played in the last few weeks of the season have at least one team which desperately needs the result. The encounter between Fitzroy and Brunswick was no different. After looking like they had made eighth position their own a few rounds ago, Brunswick have completely taken their foot off the pedal to find themselves well inside the relegation zone, so much so that a loss against Fitzroy would certainly doom them to the state league. The first half didn’t go according to plan for the Bloods as they found themselves in quite a pickle facing a 4-2 deficit at the break. Goals from Mark burton, Ange Fusca, Fernando and Ben Monteleone ensured that Fitzroy were well in control overcoming a double from Brunswick’s Clint Mogoai. The second half got a lot worse for Brunswick as the State League was fast becoming a reality for Matty Piga’s side with Fitzroy outscoring the Bloods 5-1. Led by a delightful double from veteran Mark Burton and singles from Fernando and Ben Monteleone, this Fitzroy side is finding it’s best form at the right time of the season as the end of season FOz Cup looms. After a red card in the previous round to regular #1 Jack Zilles, former Brunswick keeper Jimmy Brennan was brought in as cover and he didn’t disappoint, pulling off some very crucial saves at crucial moments. Brunswick’s solitary goal for the second half was converted by star striker Jose Portillo who after seeing his side relegated to the State League could keep his options open to a transfer as the FOz Cup nears. It is sad to see a club which has flirted with relegation over the past few seasons finally meet their demise as they have always been an organised outfit with quality players. Hopefully the core of the squad can stick together and come straight back to the V-League in a couple of seasons time.
Man of the Match: Mark Burton (Fitzroy)
Fitzroy’s reliable defender Mark Burton was an easy choice for man of the match. As we have said many times before, his presence, influence and experience on the pitch is an asset that money just can’t buy and it’s really rubbing off on his younger team mates. Burton was also responsible for scoring three crucial goals to put a determined Brunswick side to the sword.
BRIM: M. Borchert 3, D. Waszas 2, A. Alicevic
MOR: S. Dehani 2, S. Sefil, J. Franjic, S. Ingrosso
After a few disappointing results in the last few weeks, Brimbank were beginning to flirt with the thought of relegation. Their Round 21 clash with the lowly Moreland was as good a chance as ever to get back to winning ways and book their place in the safety of the top 8. Brimbank, boosted by the availability of the league’s top scorer in Adem Alicevic and goal sneak Mark Borchert were fortunate to be in a leading position at half time as Moreland were out to spoil the party. A double from Brimbank debutant Dion Waszas and a single from Mark Borchert outshone solitary strikes from Moreland’s Salih Sefil and Sam Dehani for a 3-2 lead to Brimbank. Without key attacking duo Erik Hamre and Ivan Zilic, Brimbank simply stayed focused and got down to business in the second half to lead 6-4 late in the game as Alicevic got on the scoresheet along with two more gaols from Mark Borchert to complete his hat trick. Moreland stayed close to their higher ranked opponents as strikes from Joseph Franjic and Sam Dehani made for a very entertaining finish. With seconds on the clock, Brimbank’s keeper John Italia brought down Seb Ingrosso to give away a penalty which the defender duly converted but it would have no direct influence of the result as Brimbank held on for a slender 6-5 win. It was a much needed and confidence boosting win, as the current State League champions now avoid direct relegation for the first time in their history to secure V-League futsal in 2013/14.
Man of the Match: Mark Borchert (Brimbank)
After a number of weeks on the sidelines, Brimbank’s captain Mark Borchert made a significant return with a match winning hat trick. With attacking options in Erik Hamre and Ivan Zilic ruled unavailable for tonights clash, it was a timely return for the little goal sneak to hit his straps.
CARL: C. Aydin 3, JP. Nicolacopoulos 2, S. Benhim 2, J. Constan 2, C. Rajab, I. Kolokithas, L. Papin
ESS: A. Toma 2, M. Mikaelis, J. Banyamin
The final game for Round 21 saw Carlton, who were desperate to keep pace with the top 8 – six points out of the safety zone before kick off – pitted against Essendon. The first half saw Essendon play their best half of futsal since the new administration had taken over a few rounds ago as they kept pace with Carlton making it 2-3 at the break. Carlton lead through goals from Saff Benhim, Cuneyt Aydin while new signing from Canberra Ludovic Papin also got on the score sheet. Essendon on the other hand had Jason Benyamin and Albert Toma to thank for their two goals. The second half was a completely different story as Carlton outclassed and outscored Essendon by 9-2. As we mentioned last week, the end of the season can’t come quick enough for Yousif Toufaili’s men who were without a sub for the second consecutive week. Carlton were able to walk around and do as they pleased with Aydin top scoring with a hat trick, JP Nicolacopoulos grabbed a double as did Jordan Constan while Chaaban Rajab, Iraklis Kolokithas and Saff Benhim all added singles. It was a much needed win for Carlton who have now given themselves the best possible chance of surviving the drop as they are now only three points behind Mickleham. It won’t be easy to win for either side next week as Carlton face Hume (4th) and Mickleham go up against Metropolitan (2nd) who will stop at nothing to take the 2013 title from Pascoe Vale. But futsal is a funny game and as we all know the futsal oz Stadium has seen plenty of upsets and surprises in it’s day. Bring on a dramatic and action packed Round 22!
Man of the Match: Cuneyt Aydin (Carlton)
Following his impressive performance against Brunswick last week, Carlton’s captain Cuneyt Aydin has put in yet another strong performance against Essendon with a hat trick. If Carlton stand any chance against Hume next week they will need Aydin to be at his battling best to combat Hume’s physical style.