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Futsal title returns to Auckland

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Futsal National League title has returned to the country’s largest city after a three-year absence, Auckland finally wrestling the trophy back by timing their run to perfection at the ASB Sports Centre in Wellington.

Going into the final weekend of the competition, as many as six sides could still claim the title but it was Auckland who kept their composure, winning three of their four remaining round-robin games to book a berth in the semi-finals.

They then edged out Capital 2-1 with goals to Stephen Ashby and Josh Margetts before sweeping aside Southern United 4-1 in the final, the net being bulged by Ashby, Eduardo Espinosa, Sean McIntee and Hamish Grey. That result was even more impressive given that they had been defeated 4-2 by Southern just two days earlier.

Player-coach Marvin Eakins was delighted to get his hands back on the trophy and felt his side peaked at the right time after letting their standards slip at certain points in the campaign.

"I’m pleased with the performances that were played out in both the semi-final and final," the Futsal Whites captain said.

"We stuck to our game plan well but Southern were applying pressure on us all game, it just happened to be that we were on top of our game, which gave us the result," he added.

"We felt there were times throughout the season where we didn’t perform up to the standard we needed to perform at but we’ve come a long way and I’m proud of the team for taking out the league."

Auckland were not involved in the most dramatic game of the season though, which took place in the other semi-final between the Northern Comets and Southern.

With just seconds left on the clock, Southern were holding a 5-4 lead after a thrilling encounter. It looked like the defending champions had done enough to book a second successive appearance in the final but the Comets had other ideas, scoring a last-gasp equaliser through Art Twigg before earning the chance to notch the winner from the penalty spot.

But Bahram Ahmadi - who was on a hat-trick - passed up that opportunity by firing his effort wide and Southern then launched a long ball down the court which Ben O’Farrell gleefully headed home just before the buzzer to complete one of the most frantic endings to a game in Futsal National League history.

There was some consolation for Northern in the individual honours though as Daniel Culpan picked up the Golden Boot with 16 strikes. His closest challengers were Waikato’s Jordan Ditfort and Central’s Nick Carrick, who both hit 13 goals each, while Carlos Herrmann from Southern was next in line with 12. Ahmadi, Southern’s Matt Brazier and Canterbury’s Benji Lapslie all finished on 11.

But the overall MVP award went to 10-goal Stephen Ashby while Auckland team mate Mike Antamanov received the Golden Glove for his consistently outstanding form in goal for the eventual champions.

For the final Futsal National League table and other information please click here

Futsal National League National Series 2 Results

Northern Comets 3 (Art Twigg, Daniel Culpan, Ben Culpan)

Capital 4 (Luc Saker 2, Enrico Meirelles, Jake Neill)

Auckland 2 (Kareem Osman, Hamish Grey)

Southern United 4 (Michael Sannum, Carlos Herrmann, Daniel De Souza, Ben O’Farrell)

Bay of Plenty 0

Central 4 (Charlie Bayly, Blair Lankshear, Ben Ravenwood, Josh Cremen)

Waikato 5 (Brayden Lissington, Logan Wisnewski, Jordan Ditfort, Federico Marquez 2)

Canterbury United Dragons 5 (Benji Lapslie, Ezequiel Xavier De Freitas Junior, Cameron Emberton, Sam Lapslie, Thomas McGowan)

Auckland 2 (Kareem Osman, Dylan Manickum)

Capital 1 (Luc Saker)

Bay of Plenty 1 (Alex McGregor)

Southern United 5 (Reid Hulleman 2, Matt Brazier, Carlos Herrmann)

Northern Comets 3 (Oban Hawkins 2, Daniel Culpan)

Canterbury United Dragons 2 (Suhail Toubat, Fadi Al Seenawi)

Waikato 4 (Logan Wisnewski 2, Jordan Ditfort, Maxwell Ericksen)

Central 4 (Charlie Bayly 2, Gabriel Hurford Lorenzo, Nick Carrick)

Bay of Plenty 0

Capital 10 (Gavin Hoy 2, Lucas Da Silva 2, Jerram Tuck 2, Sam Wright 2, Shingo Ina 2)

Auckland 3 (Eduardo Espinosa, Vincent Pineau, Sean McIntee)

Canterbury United Dragons 0

Waikato 5 (Logan Wisnewski 2, Kyle Wisnewski 2, Jonathan Tobias)

Southern United 3 (Kasam Ali, Carlos Herrmann 2)

Northern Comets 6 (Own goal, Justin Dunnet, Daniel Culpan, Shady Osman, Ben Culpan, Ollie Walsh)

Central 2 (Nick Carrick 2)

Bay of Plenty 2 (Jay Silcock 2)

Canterbury United Dragons 9 (Hemi Innes 2, Fadi Al Seenawi 2, Thomas McGowan, Daniel Oakman, Matthew Bergin, Cameron Emberton, Benjamin Cameron)

Waikato 2 (Kyle Wisnewksi, Jacob Robb)

Capital 0

Auckland 6 (Luke Maynard, Josh Margetts 2, Dylan Manickum, Vincent Pineau, Marvin Eakins)

Central 4 (Own goal, Ben Ravenwood, Nick Carrick 2)

Northern Comets 1 (Art Twigg)

Southern United 5 (Carlos Herrmann 2, Reid Hulleman, own goal, Matt Brazier)

Semi-Finals

Northern Comets 5 (Ben Culpan, Bahram Ahmadi 2, Art Twigg 2)

Southern United 6 (Carlos Herrmann 2, Reid Hulleman 2, Michael Sannum, Ben O’Farrell)

Auckland 2 (Stephen Ashby, Josh Margetts)

Capital 1 (Gavin Hoy)

Final

Southern United 1 (Daniel De Souza)

Auckland 4 (Stephen Ashby, Eduardo Espinosa, Sean McIntee, Hamish Grey)

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