The inaugural Men’s Capital Futsal League Grand Final will see South Canberra Swift and North Canberra Fire meet for the silverware as both claimed engrossing semi-final victories at Daramalan College.
South Canberra Swift claimed a Grand Final place by winning by the odd-goal in thirteen n a rip-snorter of a semi-final, seeing off a superb ANU Apex 7-6.
The League Champion Swift exploded out of the blocks and had a four-goal lead by the tenth minute, led by a charismatic display by Colombian Sebastian Ospina, the South American scoring twice before the break and dictating the temp of the match for the team in green.
Ospina rammed home his first of the match with a fizzing low shot from distance that Jonathan Wilson could do little to stop, and that lead was doubled when Ed McCarthy squeezed a shot in from an acute angle, his effort going in off both the goalkeeper and the base of the post.
The Swift made it three shortly after as Ospina again scored from range, before Jackson Paesler found his radar, banging home the fourth in the 9th minute. A strike from Bruno Melo reduced the arrears and gave ANU Apex a glimmer of hope heading into the half-time interval.
And Apex turned that glimmer into much more with a brace of goals from Jenno Ceruti within seconds of each other reducing the arrears at the start of the second stanza. But Swift came back and goals from McCarthy and Ospina re-established the cushion.
A thunderbolt from Jake Fitzgerald reignited Apex hopes and when Luke Stevens cracked in a fifth it was game on. Ospina bagged a fourth for Swift but another from Ceruti, direct from a 10m penalty set up a nervy finale and, had Fitzgerald’s late effort not cannoned off the upright extra time would have been a certainty.
North Canberra Fire joined the Swift in the big one as they saw off the West Canberra Lightning 7-4 in the second last four encounter.
The Fire flew out of the blocks and were two to the good after only eight minutes having taken the lead three minutes into the contest, Luca Florez ghosting away to side-foot a clam finish into the far corner.
That lead was doubled as Elie Darwich finished off a superb counterattack to slam home a second, but the Lightning responded, a large period of controlled possession ending with a toed effort from Ashley Blount that deceived Wilson Howden in the Fire goal.
Beautifully poised, the game was blown open by a Fire double within seconds of each other, both goals a work of art. For the first Maxx Green, Florez and Brad Malone combined for the latter to slide home his sixth goal of the season to make it 3-1.
And it was four moments later as the Golden Boot winner Green manufactured space to lash in a quite sublime right-footed shot past Ray Moon in the Lightning goal and into the bottom corner.
With Green departed the onus was on others to step up and Riley Brown dd just that making it five, seven minutes after the restart. A Daniel Fulton penalty reduced the arrears, but Alistair Davis responded within seconds to reassert the Fire’s lead.
And it was a lead they weren’t ever in danger of relinquishing despite a second from Fulton and a late Will Sheppard consolation, as Brown netted in between to seal a Grand Final place for Fire.
Saturday 11 February
South Canberra Swift 7 (Ospina 4’, 7’, 31’, 37’, McCarthy 7’, 24’, Paesler 9’) ANU Apex 6 (Bruno Melo 11’, Ceruti 22’, 22’, 40’, Fitzgerald 31’, Stevens 34’)
North Canberra Fire 7 (Florez 3’, Darwich 8’, Malone 18’, Green 18’, Brown 27’, 37’, Davis 33’) West Canberra Lightning 4 (Blount 12’, Fulton 33’ (p), 36’, Sheppard 37’)
Sunday 12 February
South Canberra Swift v North Canberra Fire
(Daramalan College, 19:00)
23 Maxx GREEN (Fire)
15 Alen JAMES (Swift), Jackson PAESLER (Swift)
14 Edward MCCARTHY (Swift), Juan Sebastian OSPINA (Swift), Luke STEVENS (Apex)
12 Lucas ALCAZAR-STEVENS (Swift), Luca FLOREZ (Fire), Samuel THOMSON (Fire)
10 Riley BROWN (Fire), Daniel FULTON (Lightning)
9 Jayde JAMES-WARD (Stars), Patrick SHORE (Apex), Nicholas SUBASIC (Lightning)
8 Jake FITZGERALD (Apex)
7 Johnny HAJDU (Stars), Blaise VLAZLOVSKI (Apex), Own GOALS
6 Hassan ALNUWAYSIR (Power), Michael ADAMS (Swift), Jenno CERUTI (Apex), Alistair DAVIS (Fire), Marco GAYER (Power), Brandon HAWKER (Fire), Brad MALONE (Fire), Bailey SORENSON (Fire), Kai THORNTON (Apex)
5 Ashley BLOUNT (Lightning), Vinnie BRASIL (Stars), Elie DARWICH (Fire), Brett FORWARD (Lightning), Sherab GUO (Stars), Clyde HOLO (Stars), Phakedi MANDA (Swift), Bruno MELO (Apex),Michael NOLAN (Lightning), Michael SYDNEY (Lightning)
4 Braulio MELO (Apex), Michael MOSCARITOLO (Stars), Daniel ROBERTS (Swift), James WILSON (Power)
3 Ben BASSER-SILK (Lightning), Arnold CHOI (Power), Jason FARRELL (Lighting), David JENKINS (Power), Marko RATHOUSKI (Stars), Michael RINAUDO (Stars), Will SHEPPARD (Lightning)
2 Andrew AITCHISON (Stars), Julian BRITTON (Apex), Sam CARTERS (Lightning), Caleb CULLEN-RUA (Power), Ryan DE VRIES (Apex), Connor FALUSI (Stars), Geordie FREEMAN (Power), Lachlan HARRINGTON (Stars), Hamed JADEER (Stars), Vanh NGUYEN (Swift), Sam ROESTBAKKEN (Power)
1 Michael CAHILL (Power), Nic DAHL (Swift), Grant DAVOREN (Lightning), Daniel FELIZZI (Power), Marco GAYER (Power), Mahmoud HALAWANI (Power), Joe MERMINGIS (Apex), Robert MCKAY (Fire), Zach PRITCHARD (Stars), Martin SANTOS (Power), Jordan SELEMS (Power), Robert TKATCHENKO (Swift), Herbert YEUNG (Apex)