Oceania Football Confederation > News > OFC Futsal Championship Invitational 2014 > Hosts topple leaders as tournament heats up

Hosts topple leaders as tournament heats up

Back on the bench after a serving his one match suspension, New Caledonia coach William Brett was deservedly proud of his side’s victory and performance against their Kiwi opponents.
“It’s truly extraordinary what happened here. We prepared the team for this type of result and voila, that result is what we got and the work paid off,” Brett says.
“Anything can happen in futsal, when we arrived in this competition I don’t think anyone saw us at this level – leading the table. So we have shown that we are capable of doing anything, and we can maybe go right through to the end – we will see.”
The public expected a spectacle at Arene du Sud and those who filled the stands were treated to exactly that. The physical nature in which New Zealand intended to play was signaled when Kareem Osman earned a caution just three minutes into the match. While the tempers calmed after that there was no break in the frenetic pace that both sides defended and counter-attacked as they worked to get an advantage over their opponent.
It took nearly 15 minutes of unrelenting pressure from both teams before New Zealand were finally rewarded. Solidifying himself as one of the most important players in the squad, Mohamed Kamri opened the scoring when he just lifted the ball over the diving keeper Ronan Euzen.
While expected to sit back and defend as is common for the Futsal Whites, the side instead tried to make the most of any opportunity to counter-attack at pace in an effort to create a comfortable cushion for his side.
It wasn’t to be however, as a swift transition and a tidy string of passes from New Caledonia just five minutes after the break saw Ivannoe Bamy slot past Elias Billeh, in goal for New Zealand, for the equaliser. One minute later and Mainon Kaouwi was on the board as he smashed goal-wards with a shot Billeh could only deflect into his own net.
Like New Zealand, Les Cagous could have been expected to sit back and defend their slim lead, but like the Kiwi’s they chose to continue searching. Both sides had some close calls with the two keepers proving themselves up to the challenge as the shots fired in from all angles of the court.
His first night in charge isn’t one New Zealand’s assistant coach Felipe Bernadi will want to be remembering any time soon, as he stepped up to fill the shoes of absent coach Scott Gilligan.
“We knew it was going to be quite tough to be honest. It’s quite difficult to play when you have lots of people cheering for the other team, so we knew that match would be difficult,” he says.
“We came with a purpose of defending well like we did in the last couple of games, unfortunately there were a couple of counter-attacks that cost us the game, and these things happen.”
Malaysia will be ruing their debut loss in this tournament as they continued their assent to the top with a 9-5 romp over Vanuatu in the evening’s earlier match.
They may have been subdued on arrival in New Caledonia but their performance against Vanuatu was anything but. Firing on all cylinders from the outset, it wasn’t long before one of a string of shots on target found its way past goalkeeper Glendon Masaai, with Fariq Mohammad the author of the opener.
Vanuatu made some attempts and had chances to keep Malaysia’s goalkeeper Firdaus Razali equally as busy as his counterpart Masaai, but it was Malaysia who continued to reap their accuracy.
The opening goal scorer Mohammad turned provider for teammate Fitri Yatim for Malaysia’s second before Ridzwan Bakri finished off a tidy cross from Nizam Ali. A penalty for Malaysia saw Yatim convert his second from the spot to give his side a 4-0 advantage going into half-time.
The Asian guests continued their assault on goal after the restart with Mohammad earning his second assist of the evening as he set up Shamsul Zamri less than a minute into the second half. The sixth was Asmie Zahari’s to take as Malaysia looked sure to be running to a whitewash of Vanuatu.
The Oceania side tried a couple of different things and causing a certain amount of trouble. It wasn’t until some individual brilliance from Ricky Tuigaloa to play on his captain Ben Hungai that Vanautu started to get reign in Malaysia’s goal spree.
After a couple of misfires the outstanding Pakoa Rakom added a second goal for Vanuatu before Dudley Dominique made it 6-3. Malaysia’s Zamri extended that out again when he finished a cross from Asmie Zahari, but captain Hungai was once again to the rescue as he nailed in his second of the evening. Dominique was the next to earn his brace and was followed shortly after by Zahari.
Having adopted the role of the ‘flying goalkeeper’ substitute keeper Ivano Philip was caught short one too many times and after handling the ball mid-court as he raced to stop a sure-fire goal, earned his marching orders.
While they didn’t convert the penalty it was still Malaysia who found the back of the net next with their ninth goal courtesy of Nizam Ali. The match ended somewhat in disarray as Vanuatu’s Hungai was shown a yellow with 30 seconds remaining, only for it to be upgraded to a red following a brief discussion.
A yellow card soon followed for Albert Tho who, because he either took exception or was confused, got himself up from the bench and headed for the changing rooms. After making a great save Masaai launched long to give Vanuatu the final action of a thrilling and excitement filled match.
Malaysia assistant coach Addie Azwan Zainal was pleased with the win, but believes his side’s errors led to too many goals.
“I think some players lost focus for the game, especially after Vanuatu got one goal as they lost concentration and made more mistakes,” Zainal says.
“They scored five goals and my players had to get their heads back in the game to slow them down.”
Seeing his side claw their way back from a 6-0 deficit was certainly pleasing for Vanuatu’s Louis Dominique, but he says it should never have gotten to that point in the first place.
“We scored goals but we conceded more. Our defense was really weak and despite us having a game plan, it didn’t really work out,” he says.
“At least we scored some goals against Malaysia and the boys did their best but we conceded too many goals.”
After a tough schedule that allowed for no rest days during the competition, Dominique says he wanted to let the players loose on the court for their final match, but acknowledges that didn’t emerge until the second half.
“In the first half there was a bit of frustration and they weren’t very good. The second half was a bit more free and they owned futsal.”
The OFC Futsal Championship Invitational 2014 continues tomorrow at Arene du Sud Tahiti play New Zealand first up at 6pm (local) before New Caledonia face-off with Malaysia at 8pm (local) to round out the tournament. Vanuatu have a bye.

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