South Canberra Swift took a firm grip on the Capital Futsal League title race as they moved five points clear of the chasing pack as they inflicted a second defeat of the season on North Canberra Fire at Daramalan College on Friday night.
The Swift’s game-plan, master-minded by Head Coach Nico Alcazar, worked a treat as the Swift bagged six goals and were emphatically in control of the contest until a late Fire flourish reduced the deficit.
Ed McCarthy lashed the Swift into an early lead and, from then moment that Vanh Nguyen cleverly slid home the second from an acute angle, the Fire were playing catch-up and playing into the hands of a South Canberra outfit that were only too happy to hit them hard, and consistently, in transition.
Daniel Roberts, Nic Dahl, with his first of the season, and Sebastian Ospina increased the lead to five before the league’s leading scorer, Maxx Green, pulled one back with his nineteenth goal of the season.
It mattered little, Lucas Alcazar-Stevens restoring the five-goal lead for Swift, before late goals from Alistair Davis and Elie Darwich, the latter on debut, restored some credibility. But it was Swift’s day.
UC Stars recorded a first win of the season, and ignited their hopes of finals futsal, with an upset 4-1 success over West Canberra Lightning.
The introduction of Futsalroo international Nick Rathjen and the silky-skilled Jayde James-Ward into the Stars roster was just the tonic that the University club needed, adding to the talent they already possessed and seeing them over the line.
James-Ward gave the Stars the lead in the first half, netting just past the quarter hour mark, before Ashley Blount equalised with his fifth goal of the season to make sure the teams entered half-time all-square.
Lightning, who had only lost once all season prior to this match, found themselves adrift again as Johnny Hajdu reacted fastest to a loose ball to sweep home from close range after Ben Southam has saved from Vinnie Brasil.
Chasing the game, Lightning went to fifth-man and were caught twice, James-Ward netting a beauty from a mile out, before Brasil sealed it, gleefully slamming the ball into the empty net with two minutes to play.
The race for fourth took another twist on Sunday evening as the ANU Apex and Queanbeyan-Palerang Power shared ten goals in an epic 5-5 draw. The result leaves both still in with a shout of finals football.
ANU Apex led 2-0 through goals from Blaise Vlazlovski and Braulio Melo only for Power to hit back before half-time via goal from Marco Gayer, a strike that put them right back in the mix.
Power hit the front in the second half as Arnold Choi and Gayer struck, only for Patrick Shore to level matters and Vlazlovski to put Apex back in front. Amazingly, Mahmoud Halawani equalised from the spot for Power and James Wilson had them in front as the clock ticked over towards full-time.
Shore made it 5-5 with time ticking away and the game ended dramatically as Vlazlovski hit the bar with a header in the final seconds.
Friday 20 January
South Canberra Swift 6 (McCarthy 3’, Nguyen 11’, Roberts 22’, Dahl 25’, Ospina 34’, Alcazar-Stevens 36’) North Canberra Fire 3 (Green 35’, Davis 38’, Darwich 40’)
Saturday 21 January
UC Stars 4 (James-Ward 16’, 37’, Hajdu 25’, Brasil 38’) West Canberra Lightning 1 (Blount 22’)
Sunday 22 January
ANU Apex 5 (Vlazlovski 3’, 27’, Braulio Melo 7’, Shore 26’, 39’) Queanbeyan-Palerang Power 5 (Gayer 18’, 25’, Choi 22’, Halawani 28’ (p), Wilson 30’)
19 Maxx GREEN (Fire)
12 Edward MCCARTHY (Swift), Samuel THOMSON (Fire)
10 Lucas ALCAZAR-STEVENS (Swift), Alen JAMES (Swift), Jackson PAESLER (Swift)
9 Luca FLOREZ (Fire), Patrick SHORE (Apex), Luke STEVENS (Apex)
7 Daniel FULTON (Lightning), Juan Sebastian OSPINA (Swift), Nicholas SUBASIC (Lightning), Blaise VLAZLOVSKI (Apex), Own GOALS
6 Hassan ALNUWAYSIR (Power), Michael ADAMS (Swift), Riley BROWN (Fire), Marco GAYER (Power), Bailey SORENSON (Fire)
5 Vinnie BRASIL (Stars), Jake FITZGERALD (Apex), Johnny HAJDU (Stars), Brandon HAWKER (Fire), Clyde HOLO (Stars), Kai THORNTON (Apex)
4 Ashley BLOUNT (Lightning), Sherab GUO (Stars), Brad MALONE (Fire), Michael MOSCARITOLO (Stars), Daniel ROBERTS (Swift), Michael SYDNEY (Lightning)
3 Ben BASSER-SILK (Lightning), Jenno CERUTI (Apex), Alistair DAVIS (Fire), Brett FORWARD (Lightning), David JENKINS (Power), Marko RATHOUSKI (Stars), Michael RINAUDO (Stars), James WILSON (Power)
2 Andrew AITCHISON (Stars), Julian BRITTON (Apex), Sam CARTERS (Lightning), Arnold CHOI (Power), Jason FARRELL (Lighting), Connor FALUSI (Stars), Lachlan HARRINGTON (Stars), Hamed JADEER (Stars), Jayde JAMES-WARD (Stars), Phakedi MANDA (Swift), Braulio MELO (Apex), Bruno MELO (Apex), Vanh NGUYEN (Swift), Sam ROESTBAKKEN (Power), Will SHEPPARD (Lightning)
1 Michael CAHILL (Power), Caleb CULLEN-RUA (Power), Nic DAHL (Swift), Elie DARWICH (Fire), Grant DAVOREN (Lightning), Daniel FELIZZI (Power), Marco GAYER (Power), Mahmoud HALAWANI (Power), Robert MCKAY (Fire), Michael NOLAN (Lightning), Zach PRITCHARD (Stars), Martin SANTOS (Power), Jordan SELEMS (Power), Robert TKATCHENKO (Swift), Herbert YEUNG (Apex)