Day Two in Series Two of the ASB Futsal National League showed just how unpredictable the beautiful game can be. Auckland Football, coming into the series undefeated, have yet to secure a win, their best result draws with Mainland and Central Hawkes Bay. In contrast, Capital and Waikato Bay of Plenty both put on strong performances, belying their positions at the bottom of the table going into the weekend.
There were a number of surprising results, none so much as the game between Futsal South and Central Hawkes Bay. Futsal South started Day Two top of the table, after leap frogging Auckland on Day One with their win over Mainland in the southern derby. Hawkes Bay came out firing in their game, buoyed by their win over Waikato Bay of Plenty the previous day. It was a tight game and remained scoreless until late in the first half when the hard work of the Hawkes Bay side paid off, scoring through Cameron Emerson to hold a 1-0 lead at half time. Despite pressuring their opponents hard, and even using a “flying keeper” later in the second half, Futsal South couldn’t penetrate Hawkes Bay. The Bay were able to score a further two goals late in the second half to win the game 3-0 over a hapless southern side.
After a disappointing start in day one, Auckland were looking to improve their performance on the second day and get their spot back at the top of the table taking advantage of Futsal South’s loss. Despite being without goal keeper Elias Billeh, ruled out through suspension after being sent off during the game yesterday against Capital, Auckland came out firing against a physical Mainland side. Both sides scored early on, Sam Mitchell scoring for Mainland and Auckland’s Stephen Ashby-Peckham replying almost immediately, getting the ball past Futsal White goal keeper Atta Elayyan to draw the score level 1-1. Mainland got the second half underway in style, with Mitchell carrying the ball forward and powering it into the back of the net. Although Auckland controlled much of the play, showing good skill on the ball, they struggled to convert their efforts into points. Mainland were strong on the counter attack, scoring twice in the second half in that way. Auckland Captain Marvin Eakins proved his worth yet again for his side; his calmness and ability on the ball encouraged his team mates to score twice in the second half to draw the score level at 3 all. This made the final ten minutes of the game tense, as both sides tried to find the balance between holding possession to not concede, but breaking forward to try and score. However neither side could break the deadlock before the full time whistle.
Auckland’s second game was against Central Hawkes Bay who were coming off their decisive win over Futsal South earlier in the day. The psychological difference going into the game came through almost immediately, with Hawkes Bay scoring twice early on. Auckland pulled it back to draw the score even again before it turned into tit for tat, Hawkes Bay taking the lead but Auckland getting the last say to go into the half time break up 4-3. Both sides came out strongly in the second half; Auckland opened the scoring to extend their lead by two only for Hawkes Bay to score through a free kick. Auckland’s goal keeper Clayton Chappell showed great reflex, defending a sustained series of attacks on goal by the Bay, with a number of saves off the line to keep Auckland in front. However it didn’t faze Hawkes Bay. Both sides gave everything in the final ten minutes, with Hawkes Bay able to put two more goals away, giving Josh Stevenson a hat trick and Hawkes Bay a 6-5 win. Auckland will be disappointed after what was their strongest game yet this weekend.
Central Manawatu didn’t start in the same strong style they finished Day One, looking lacklustre in their first game. They did have some close chances on goal, but the absence of Nathan Cooksley and Adam Cowan controlling play in the mid-court was noticeable. Even the lithe skills of Josh Chettleburgh and Jonathan Steele and a late goal from Josh Margetts weren’t enough to bring them back from the 4-1 deficit that Waikato Bay of Plenty notched up against them. Cooksley was back for their second game against Capital later in the day, however the hosts were on a roll after two promising results in Day One.
Capital’s first game of the day against Manawatu began strongly with a formidable line up with Miroslav Malivuk, Marcos Gomes and Enrico Meirelles all starting. It was a good choice with a goal early on to the dynamic Gomes, followed a short time later with a second and third goal from Shingo Ina and Lucas Da Silva. New Zealand Football Futsal Whites Head Coach Scott Gilligan said “the first half from Capital was the best first half I have seen all weekend. Movement was good, the passing was crisp, it’s great to see.” A fourth goal to captain Malivuk late in the first half all but sealed the win for Capital, going into the half time break up 4-0. Cooksley got a goal back for his side early in the first half, and scored a second goal late in the game from a sneaky back flick off a free kick. However Capital dominated much of the goal scoring with Malivuk notching up a hat trick, including “Goal of the Day” which you can see here, Ina scoring a brace, and Capital winning the game convincingly 7-2.
Capital’s second game against Mainland was much closer. The games were locked at 0-0 when midway through the first half the fire alarms sounded, reminiscent for many of the earthquake that rocked the ASB Sports Centre during the ASB Trans Tasman Cup in July this year. Fortunately this was a false alarm, and will be more of a psychological test for the players to refocus. Capital recovered the quickest with Da Silva scoring to give the hosts the lead going into half time. However Mainland’s Jakub Sinkora (photo attached) equalised early in the second half, followed a short time later by team mate Kaiea Karennang, to make it a tense game for both sides. Each had opportunities on goal with some powerful shots just going astray, but both teams were also forced into errors costing them possession. Capital’s captain Malivuk broke the deadlock in the second half, scoring two goals in quick succession to give them the lead 3-2. Mainland responded with their own goal only to concede an own goal and allow young Luc Saker to score, giving Capital a 5-3 lead, and the win one of the more passionate games of the day.
Waikato Bay of Plenty came into Day Two knowing they had some work to do to improve their results. They started well in their first game through a more strategic use of their bench. The young side scored first in their game against Central Manawatu through Bahram Ahamdi. Ahmadi scored a second goal, and team mate Gareth Clark also got on the score sheet which gave Waikato Bay of Plenty a three goal buffer going into the half time break. The lead and the goals were a perfect recipe that gave the Waikato team renewed confidence. Jama Boss scored a fourth goal that saw them uncatchable by their Manawatu neighbours. New Zealand Football Futsal White Head Coach Scott Gilligan commented that the Waikato side are young but very skilful. “They play some of the better futsal out of all the teams but just lack experience.”
Waikato Bay of Plenty came out strong in their second game of the day against Northern, buoyed by their earlier win, and were rewarded early on with a goal to Boss who scored with a flick of the ball over the keeper. In contrast, Northern didn’t look as proficient as they did in day one, allowing the Waikato youngsters to control much of the play to start with. It wasn’t until deep in the first half that Northern came alive and were rewarded with a goal from Hicham Kamri. The second half was close but Northern’s experience carried them through, with Shady Osman scoring the winning goal. Waikato Bay of Plenty had their chance to equalise late in the game, when a free kick to Northern ricocheted off the post, landed to a Waikato player whose quick thinking and counter attack saw him travel to the other end of the court and shoot on target but the Northern keeper did well and blocked the shot. Northern took the points but Waikato Bay of Plenty should keep their heads up going into day three having put out a much better performance.
Northern and Futsal South met in one of the late games of the day, and both were eager for three points. Northern started with a strong line-up, with player/coach Felipe De Marchi Bernardi back after sitting out the earlier game, alongside goal scorers Hicham Kamri and Bakr Al Saudi. Bernardi went off injured and Northern moved to the “flying keeper” strategy early in the game, with Al Saudi taking the role. The move paid off, with Maximiliano Campodonico scoring to give Northern the lead.
Northern continued to control much of the game, holding onto possession with calm passes building up to an opportunity to attack. Futsal South raised the tempo with their intercepts, choosing to attack the Northern goal at pace. South were able to bring the score level late in the first half, but a deliberate hand ball in front of goal saw Southern’s defender red carded and Kamri slot the penalty low right and into the back of the net to give Northern a 2-1 lead going into half time. Futsal South scored early in the second half to level the score, however Northern stuck to their game plan and it paid off, Campodonico scoring his second goal. Futsal South again levelled the score but great play between Campodonico and Kamri foiled South for Northern to again take the lead 4-3. Despite a last minute surge from both sides, Northern held onto the lead, and even snuck a fifth goal catching the Southern keeper out who had pushed high for a free kick in the final seconds.
Northern Football head coach Felipe De Marchi Bernardi was pleased with the result. “We knew Futsal South would come out strong, so we used some different tactics that we discussed before the game. We used the fifth man from the fourth minute of the game to put pressure on them and we came away with the result so we’re very happy with that.”
The win puts Northern at the top of the able going into day three. Bernardi said “as a team we planned and had a goal to come away with nine points this weekend and we’re on ten so I’m really pleased for the team.”
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