Dural Warriors added the cherry to their already appetizing 2014 Mens F-League pie with an exciting 3-1 victory against an undeniable East Coast Heat challenge at Valentine Sports Park on Sunday afternoon.
Two goals from Dural star Greg Giovenali in the first 10 minutes of the game handed the premiers a handy buffer, and they needed it as East Coast – which had legendary goalkeeper Peter Spathis and key player Sam Perrre both dismissed for second bookings – lifted to give the Warriors no respite in an edgy two-goal win.
Dural belt Boomerangs
A second-half barrage gave Dural Warriors a 10-1 semifinal victory over Boomerangs at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday afternoon.
Warriors were made to work for every inch of a tight 2-0 halftime advantage, but they opened up in the second term with Chris Polkinghorne starring with four goals while Blake Rosier grabbed a hat-trick, Jarrod Basger added two and Greg Giovenali bagged a goal to advance to Sunday’s grand final against Sydney rivals East Coast Heat.
Dural Warriors 10 (Chris Polkinghorne 4, Blake Rosier 3, Jarrod Basger 2, Nathan Niski) Boomerangs 1 (Glenn Smith)
Heat sting Vipers
East Coast Heat did it tough in a 7-5 battle royale with Vic Vipers at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday evening, the hosts clinging to a 2-1 halftime edge and holding for a well-earned victory.
Jordan Guerreiro was on fire scoring a hat-trick while Clayton Musumeci netted a double with Michael Loupis and Peter Spathis adding the others in a thrilling match. Miguel Barrigos smashed in three for Vipers.
East Coast Heat 7 (Jordan Guerreiro 3, Clayton Musumeci 2, Peter Spathis, Michael Loupis) Vic Vipers 5 (Miguel Barrigos 3, Jonathan Barrientos)
Warriors beat Heat
Dural Warriors won a riveting hummel Mens F-League grand final 3-1 over East Coast Heat at Valentine Sports Park on Sunday afternoon.
It was a strange affair as Greg Giovenali and Jarrod Basger hit early for Dural while East Coast were still doing up their shoelaces, but it was a different match altogether after that as the Heat played like Spartans – going three goals down with a second Giovenali strike, then losing inspirational keeper Peter Spathis to a second booking with key player Sam Perre following him to the sidelines moments later.
Despite the two-player disadvantage East Coast still threatened and Jordan Guerreiro found a way through the Warriors wall with four minutes remaining to make it 3-1 and no-one disbelieved Heat’s fairytale finish, an edgy Dural playing out the remaining minutes to claim an epic 3-1 victory – their 16th in a row of an unblemished winter.
While Warriors reign supreme over this year’s F-League, East Coast came the closest to breaking them and the signs are there for an exciting tournament future.
It was a cagey grand final opening as both sides settled in and then it broke – Toby Seeto finding Giovenali on the right who drilled home for a 1-0 Warriors lead.
Guerreiro fired back for Heat with a fantastic low strike across goal that went under Dural keeper Nick Starr and cannoned off the far post, but it was a double-disaster as Basger let fire with a low blast that ruffled the net for a 2-0 Warriors advantage (Basger’s 21st of a glittering season collecting onions) and it looked like the premiers would rout the Coasters.
Heat finally upped the temperature and Starr acrobatically pushed another Guerreiro shot wide, then Dural defender Nathan Niski had to clear from danger with Clayton Musumeci in front.
Warriors captain Daine Merin and Bruno Pivato spoiled their own chances not long before Niski’s long-range bomb was nudged wide by Spathis to keep East Coast in the contest.
For a few minutes it seemed like two great Samurai were playing a Street-Fighter chess match with Spathis and Starr the ultimate heroes in making sure the score remained unchanged, the Heat number one smothering Basger’s one-on-one opportunity and the Warriors glovesman batting clear a Guerreiro rocket.
Dural were trying everything to throw a stubborn East Coast off their game and instead foiled themselves as a cute moment of ‘passies’ backfired and Perre intercepted and unleashed a drive that was athletically parried by Starr.
Heat couldn’t make more of a goalmouth scramble minutes later, while at the other end a timely Chris Zeballos lunge broke up a golden Warriors run, a sharp Spathis taking care of a short barrage of Dural attempts on goal to keep the two-goal margin at the changeover.
A terrific Spathis double-save straight after the restart showed East Coast’s intent, the Futsal stalwart also awake to Giovenali’s cheeky moments later, and his team-mates lifted, Guerreiro forcing Starr into a great diving save and Zeballos’ follow-up ricocheted off the back of Starr and out for a corner.
Wade Giovenali was lucky to only get a yellow card for bringing down Guerreiro as possibly the last-defender and Perre’s freekick nicked the left post on the way out to bring the near-capacity crowd right into it, and an alert Spathis was again on tempo to defuse two Dural runs, Zeballos magnificent in clearing Niski’s close-range shot and it looked like the Warriors may rue their missed chances.
But when Spathis rolled to himself with 13 minutes to go and went full court to lay across to Guerreiro who blasted over from a few metres out, he was caught out of position and picked up a second yellow card for interfering with a quick restart.
If Dural thought this was the moment they were looking for they were mistaken as replacement keeper Mark Brackenrig showed pure mettle to front-up and bravely deny consecutive Dural assaults in front of an open goal before Giovenali found space at the top of the D and struck through the legs of both defender and keeper to make it 3-0 on the half-hour.
If Dural thought this was the moment they were looking for they were mistaken again as East Coast lifted with Jun Arima shooting high on the run and Perre jinking his way to free up space only for Starr to save well, but the clock struck one again as Perre got yellow-carded for lashing out after being brought down and then booked again for dissent to leave East Coast with a three-piece line-up.
But if Dural thought this was the moment they were looking for they were mistaken one more time as a Pivato shot deflected off a Heat defender and then off the post, and Brackenrig deflected clear another Pivato shot seconds later as East Coast refused to lay down their arms.
Despite Heat being players down Guerreiro drove low 7m in front to force a crisp drop-save from Starr who also denied a sharp Zeballos chance seconds later, but with four minutes to go East Coast finally found reward for their toil as Harley Da Silva fed Guerreiro inside the D and he buried the chance to make it 3-1.
The buzz in the crowd underlined what might have been possible but it was Brackenrig who displayed the dying heroics in stopping a Seeto flick and blocking Wade Giovenali’s ninja-like dance into the D as the final whistle drew the curtain on a fantastic final and complimentary Dural season.
Warriors sergeant-of-arms Greg Giovenali was succinct in answering what could challenge an unbeaten Dural outfit. “We want to match this season,” he said.
“Honesty there’s not much difference between the teams, I think the difference is our depth. We’ve got young players coming in for us and they’ve done the job for us every time – we’re very lucky to have them at the club.”
“East Coast is a top team and we’ve had tough games against them all year. They’ve got some amazing players who just never say die, which is what you saw from them today.”
“We just really wanted to get back to the AFC [Asian Futsal club championship]. After going so close last time we wanted to set things right and show the world what Australian Futsal can really do.
“Obviously it helps to have a coach like Rob [Varela] who always makes sure you do the small things right. You could do 100 things right and one thing wrong and he’ll be into you.”
A sated post-game Varela contradicted his star player’s assessment, but the accomplished mentor admitted he was very glad to hear the final buzzer. “16 from 16 but I’m very relieved it’s over,” he said.
“East Coast gave us a fantastic game. We dominated in patches but not the whole game and all credit to them for that. Simon Keith’s done a fantastic job with his side and more than likely they’ll be rewarded for that in the future.”
“For us, we’ve had good players that have been working hard for years to achieve this and they did a great job throughout the season.”
Heat coach Simon Keith applauded Dural’s victory but saved plenty of praise for his own players.
“100 per cent we expected to do well; we just didn’t finish off our chances well enough and just a couple of soft goals conceded at the start proved the difference,” he said.
“It was a good game to watch, good for the crowd to see the value of Futsal, which is a fast, entertaining sport.
“I told my players not to give [Dural] any respect as I think that’s a mistake many teams do, they give them too much respect. They’re a good side but they’re not unbeatable.”
“It’s a five-year project. We were happy to make the finals this year, but our main goal is to make it to Asia down the track.”
Dural Warriors 3 (Greg Giovenali 2, Jarrod Basger) East Coast Heat 1 (Jordan Guerreiro)
Jarrod Basger, Adam Bradley, Tobias Seeto, Greg Giovenali, Daine Merrin, Nathan Niski, Zach Caruana, Glen Kelshaw, Wade Giovenali, Bruno Pivato, Blake Rosier, Chris Polkinghorne, Brendan Hoyer, Kaans Kilinc, Jacob Basden, Nathan Philips, Marco Turpeinen, Corey Finch, Alastair Bruce, Nick Starr, James Brunacci, coach Rob Varela
East Coast Heat
Lev Lewis, Chris Zeballos, Clayton Musumeci, Simon Keith, Miles Downie, Mitomo Somehara, Jordan Guerreiro, Sam Perre, Raymond Miller, Johnathan Kontalis, Jamie Dib, Harley Da Silva, Tuan Cao, Corey Biczo, Diego Bellardo, Bruno Bellardo, Jonathan Barzel, Michael Loupis, Jun Arima, Peter Spathis, Mark Brackenrig, Matthew Mazevsk, coach Simon Keith
Officials: Chris Colley, Ryan Shepheard, Scott Kidson, Darius Turner
This winter was officially the F-League’s hottest season with a delectable 9.3 goals per game giving plenty for the fans to cheer about. The mark bettered last year’s nine per match and flew past the 2012 (8.6) and 2011 (8.1) seasons.
The goalscorers chart put Fernando De Moraes (Vipers) on 24, three ahead of Jarrod Basger (Warriors), followed by Jose Portillo (Strikers) 18, Daniel Bennett (Boomerangs) 16, Jordan Guerreiro (Heat) 15, Mark Symington (Scorpions) 14, Chris Zeballos (Heat) 14, Chris Polkinghorne (Warriors) 14, Scott Fenn (South Brisbane) 12, Danny Martinez (Scorpions) 11, with Michael Rinaudo (Capital), Adam Cooper (Vipers), Shervin Adeli (Scorpions) and Greg Giovenali (Warriors) all reaching double-figures.