SFL 2018-2019 Round 32 Wrap-up7 min read
The penultimate round of the Nike State Futsal League brought us the most number of upsets in one round that we have seen all season, culminating with all major positions still up for grabs, including the minor premiership, the finals spots and the wooden spoon.
In the 1st match on Friday evening, Spearwood Lions FC upset Curtin Footbalista FC 8-6, despite trailing 0-3 early in the first half. The Lions completed one of the most spectacular comebacks to lead 4-3 at half-time and never looked back after that. Spearwood’s player-of-the-season Jamal Yusof again starred with 4 remarkable goals, to take his season tally to an extraordinary 37 goals in 31 matches. He was ably supported by Kelechi Nmeni who scored his first hattrick of the season, taking his season tally to 14 goals in 27 appearances. The victory lifted Spearwood above South Perth on the ladder, 1 point above the wooden spoon. The defeat should have ended Footbalista’s finals hopes, but more surprises were to follow..
Murdoch Warriors FC were watching the previous match, knowing that a stumble for Curtin would leave the door open for them to secure the final spot in the finals with one round to go. But, Balga FC had other thoughts. Despite taking an early 2-0 lead, Murdoch, like Curtin earlier in the evening, failed to capitalise, allowing Balga to recover to a 2-2 draw at half-time. In a second half that ebbed and flowed, Balga eventually took control of the match to secure an unlikely 4-3 victory. Once again, Graham Dixon starred for Balga with another brace (taking his season tally to 13 goals in 20 appearances). Dixon was also a rock in defence for Balga, along with experienced shot-stopper Mark Higgins. Balga have done well in their first season in the Nike State Futsal League and will finish the season in 8th position. Expect more from them next season as they continue to build on a solid squad. For Murdoch, an opportunity missed to lock up the last finals spot, but, they remain in 6th position, and the ball remains in their court.
The final match on Friday evening saw Perth Longobarda FC stay true to form and secure their spot in the finals with a commanding 12-1 victory over Perth AFC. An experienced Longobarda outfit took full advantage of the stumbles of Curtin and Murdoch to lock up 5th position on the table, and a destiny with 4th placed Fremantle FC in two weeks’ time in the elimination semi-final. Back to the match report, for the first time this season, every player who came on the court for the victors scored, including the goalkeeper Ricardo Louro! Doubles from Cristiano Dos Santos (14 goals in 31 appearances), Remo Capitani (25 goals in 27 matches), Marco Tomassetti (12 in 29) and Jan Cok (7 in 14) significantly added to the goal difference. For AFC, a season that had started so well is fading quickly. An 8th defeat in a row means that they are now within touching distance of the wooden spoon. They will need a result against Joondalup next weekend to keep matters in their own hands.
Saturday’s fixtures commenced with what was billed as the match-of-the-round, and ended up being the match-of-the-season-so-far! 1st placed Cockburn EWA FC took on 3rd placed Rockingham Cambio Cumbre FC with both sides featuring returning stars and fielding deep benches for the first time in several weeks. An exhilarating match that had everything, from spectacular goals, to outstanding saves, to yellow and red cards, ended in a 6-5 victory to Cumbre. EWA’s defeat left the door open later in the evening for Stirling to take top spot from them. It also meant 2 losses in a row, for the 2nd time this season for Cockburn. But, they did battle hard to come back from a 4-1 deficit at half-time to lose by a solitary goal (thus winning the 2nd half 4-2). Cumbre’s returning stars, Malaysian International Yazid Omar with a brace (to take his season tally to 11 goals in 10 matches) and Faris Noor Rani with a goal (15 goals in 13 appearances) dazzled. Even allowing Rockingham’s stalwart all season, Nestor Fonseca, and hot favourite for the MVP, to start from the bench. And whilst Cockburn piled on the pressure in the 2nd half and nearly squared the match, you always felt like Cumbre had something left in reserve. Special mention to academy goalkeeper Jaydon Baker who excelled for Cumbre, in only his 7th appearance of the season.
A high-scoring weekend, had an exception with Joondalup ECU Jets drawing 1-1 with Fremantle FC. Two sides that have been evenly matched all season (only 6 goals in 3 matches) again proved why defence is the best form of attack. Fremantle came into the match knowing that previous results in the round had secured them 4th or 5th position, and a destiny with Longobarda. And they piled on the pressure early to continue their red-hot-form in recent weeks. But in ECU goalkeeper Alexander Donov they found an adversary in solid form and the Jets defence held strong. As the match wore on, Joondalup got more into the match, and scored via Jonny Hill half-way through the second half to take a 1-0 lead. Fremantle then employed their customary 5th man ploy and in an exciting finish Liam Cummins scored the equalizer with 2 seconds remaining to tie the match 1-1. Credit also to Fremantle goalkeeper Frank Del Rosso for saving a penalty.
The final match of the round featured South Perth FC versus Stirling Braza Ginga FC, with Braza knowing that a victory would take them to the top of the table with only 1 round remaining in the regular season. And their players delivered with a resounding 9-2 victory over a resilient South Perth outfit that included goalscoring debutant Jason Peppin. But the story was all about Stirling, who secured their 8th victory in a row to jump to the top of the table. The goals were shared around with 4 players scoring two-a-piece, including Rudnei Sheldon (8 goals in 19 matches), Claudio Tavares (11 goals in 15 matches), Fernando De Paula (10 goals in 7 matches), and their age-defying captain Pavel Parihuzic (25 goals in 29 appearances this season)
With 1 round to go, Stirling have jumped to the top of the table, Longobarda have locked up a finals spot and 4 sides can still finish the season with the wooden spoon! An exciting final round of fixtures will see Cockburn take on Footbalista, still with a chance of securing a finals spot, and Fremantle take on Braza, with an opportunity to topple them off the top of the table. All that and more, only at the Pro Futsal Centre in Bibra Lake!