2018-2019 SFL Round 25 wrap-up5 min read
Friday night lights at the Pro Futsal Centre in Bibra Lake, and round 25 of the Nike State Futsal League commenced with in-form Murdoch Warriors FC continuing their extraordinary undefeated run & their march up the table with a 7-1 victory over a gallant Joondalup ECU Jets. Justin Pearce starred with 4 goals, taking man-of-the-match honours, and now has 17 goals in 22 games this season.
The 2nd match of the evening saw the debut of the legendary Jacob Burns for South Perth FC versus Cockburn EWA FC. Burns began his football career with Sydney United in the NSL, and played in the EPL with Leeds Utd and Barnsley between 2000-2006. He also featured for Perth Glory in the A-League 2009-2014. Internationally, he represented Australia between 2000-2010. A real coup for South Perth to recruit a legend of Australian football. Unfortunately, it was not enough to overcome a motivated EWA side looking to overturn their loss from the previous week, with Cockburn winning the match 4-1. Mark Gavranic starred for EWA with 2 goals, to take his season tally to 20 goals in 20 matches. But, he also suffered a fractured foot and will struggle to be available for his club in the WA Invitational Cup this Easter weekend.
The final match of the evening and the match-of-the-round saw Stirling Braza Ginga FC defeat Perth Longobarda FC 1-0 in a close low scoring affair. The defeat dropped Longobarda out of the Top 6 for the first time in 2019 and they will look to bounce back after the Easter break. Braza will be relieved to have returned to winning ways, with mid-season recruit Claudio Tavares scoring the solitary goal. Tavares now has 4 goals in 9 appearances since his transfer from Fremantle FC.
Saturday’s matches began with an enthralling 1-1 draw between Rockingham Cambio Cumbre FC and Balga FC. Cumbre began the match on the front foot and took a well-deserved lead late in the first half with a stunning strike from their stalwart Nestor Fonseca, taking his season tally to an extraordinary 40 goals in 24 matches. Cumbre certainly missed Fonseca’s services in Round 24 as he was serving a one match suspension for an accumulation of 5 yellow cards. Balga were not to be denied in this match. They came back fighting as their full court press rattled Cumbre on several occasions and forced them into errors. Balga scored early in the 2nd half with Graham Dixon scoring a solid opportunistic goal, to take his season tally to 6 goals in 14 matches. Balga look so much stronger and tighter in defence when Dixon and Adam Mangion are on their roster. Both sides had opportunities to win the match late on, with both goalkeepers excelling and the steel posts keeping both sides at bay. With their 3rd draw in the row, Balga move up to 10th on the ladder.
This match was followed up by another exciting encounter with Fremantle FC defeating Spearwood Lions FC 4-2. Spearwood jumped out of the blocks with an early goal Dorian Mardi goal via the penalty spot. But Fremantle came back with their high press and fast passing game starving Spearwood of possession and of opportunities. Fremantle ran out winners with charismatic captain Daniel Muzzarelli scoring a double, to take his season tally to 27 goals in 24 matches. The win returned Fremantle to 4th on the table.
In the final match of the round we witnessed a high scoring end-to-end encounter with Curtin Footballista FC defeating Perth AFC 8-4. Despite the heavy defeat, AFC goalkeeper Rob Caruso was man-of-the-match making some of the most outstanding saves of the season. Jake Ambrose also impressed for AFC with 2 good goals (5 goals in 10 matches). AFC could not repeat their heroics of the previous round, when they defeat Rockingham Cambio Cumbre. Their under-strength line-up was heavily tested this time by a Footballista side motivated by the opportunity to return to the Top 6. Head Coach Saeed Danesh had Curtin well prepared for this encounter as they romped to an early 4-0 lead. Moreno Cappello (15 goals in 20 games) and Ayman Alsaihati (3 goals in 3 games) contributed with a brace each.
The WA Invitational Cup will occupy the airwaves next weekend with blockbuster matches all Easter Weekend (Fri 19th to Sun 21st), featuring Cumbre (5 time SFL champs), Braza (3 time SFL champs), Fremantle (3 time SFL champs), Murdoch (1 time SFL champs) and EWA (defending SFL champs) all looking to impress against a star-studded Sydney Stars side that will feature current and past Futsalroos players. Get your ticket here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/2019-wa-invitational-futsal-cup-tickets-59698035431