2018-2019 SFL Round 28 wrap-up6 min read
As we approach the end of a long & gruelling Nike State Futsal League season, the battle scars are beginning to appear on the faces and in the appearances of the players and the teams.
Round 28 certainly produced some highlights and some lowlights.
Friday night’s matches commenced with the one we’ve all been waiting for; the replay of the WA Invitational Futsal Cup final, with 5 time SFL champions Rockingham Cambio Cumbre FC taking on 3 time SFL champions Stirling Braza Ginga FC. But the roles were reversed this time around: With 2nd placed Stirling at near full strength and Rockingham missing a few players, Braza inflicted a heavy 10-4 defeat on Cumbre. Captain Pavel Parihuzic turned back the years with 4 goals and a MOTM performance, taking his season tally to 20 goals in 25 matches. Claudio Tavares (6 goals in 11 matches) and Thiago Mesquita (12 goals in 23 matches) also starred with a brace each. Young target Fahed Kassis came of age with 3 assists and came close to scoring on a few occasions. For the 2nd week in a row, Yongjoon Park scored twice, to take his season tally to 9 goals in 14 matches. But, overall, it was a night to forget for Cumbre who remain in 3rd position, 7 points clear of 4th placed Longobarda .
The 2nd match of the evening provided another high scoring affair with South Perth FC defeating Perth AFC 8-4. After a long barren run, South Perth secured their 2nd victory in a row and in the process climbed to 9th on the ladder, just 3 points behind AFC in 8th spot. Filip Rojnica (16 goals in 24 matches) and Ivan Palermo (8 goals in 13 matches) were outstanding in this match, scoring a hattrick each. Palermo is establishing himself as an outstanding target in the SFL. Oscar Pit (14 goals in only 12 matches) and Spiro Nenadic (9 goals in 23 matches) scored a brace each for AFC, but, despite Mike Kelly’s heroics in goals, they could not withstand the onslaught from a South Perth side that is buzzing from the increased competition within the squad.
In what was billed as the Battle of the Universities, the players from both Curtin Footballista FC and Joondalup ECU Jets certainly took the Uni Derby to heart in a heated affair that ended with both sides sharing the spoils 3-3. The eventful match featured 7 yellow cards and a red card too. Competition Manager El Abrahams will be busy this week going through the Referees Reports and will likely dish out some bans. Stay tuned! On the court, Curtin’s Farzam Mehrabi continued his stellar season with another brace of goals, and now has 25 goals in 25 appearances. He has been in outstanding form all season. Meanwhile, David Neugebauer also showed why he is one of the key players for ECU with a brace of his own, to take his season tally to 9 goals in only 11 matches. The draw saw Curtin drop to 7th on the table (outside the Top 6) with 5 rounds to play.
The 1st match on Saturday featured the new kids on the block Balga FC taking on the defending champions Cockburn EWA FC. And, as per the previous 2 meetings this season, EWA ran away with a comfortable 10-2 victory. Despite missing a few of their stars and starting the match with only 2 subs, Cockburn were deadly in front of goal scoring with aplomb. Alex Gamble was on fire, adding another 4 goals to an extraordinary season that has produced 32 goals in only 24 matches. Brandon De Abreau also scored a hattrick (14 goals in 24 matches), and Stefan Cvijanovic contributed with a brace (12 goals in 19 matches) to continue his fine form since his return from injury. Cockburn can tie up the minor premiership next week, if results go their way.
In the 2nd match of the afternoon, a spirited Spearwood Lions FC took on a Perth Longobarda FC that has rediscovered their form in recent weeks. Two sides that have built up a strong rivalry this season produced another 6 goals thriller. But, rather than share the spoils as they did in their 2 previous encounters this season, Longobarda won this match 4-2. Roberto Armellini again displayed his authority on the court with another commanding performance, capped off by a fine goal (20 goals in 26 appearances) for Longobarda. Meanwhile, Kelechi Nmeni also exhibited why he is one of the fine young talents in the SFL with two goals for the Lions, to take his season tally to 11 goals in 23 matches. Longobarda jumped from 7th to 4th on the ladder with this victory!
The final match of the round was as billed, the match of the round, with two evenly matched former SFL champions that could not be separated on the court. Murdoch Warriors FC took a 2 nil lead into the half-time break, but Fremantle FC pegged them back with a brace from young star Diego Florenca (15 goals in 27 matches) to eventually tie the match 2-2. An outstanding display of free-flowing futsal resulted in multiple chances for both sides and the 2-2 draw was a fitting and fair result. Both sides entered the weekend in 4th & 5th positions, and exited in 5th & 6th spots. Still in the Top 6 and still vying for places in the finals series.
With 5 rounds to go, Longobarda , Murdoch, Fremantle & Curtin are separated by only 2 points. One of those 4 sides will finish 7th and miss out on playing finals in June.