Futsal Navy Blues back on track with wins

Words: Nick Brown

Sunday 13 November 2022

Picture: Phototek

PAPAKURA, New Zealand - Auckland City FC are back with a bang in the latest round of the Ford Futsal SuperLeague after back to back wins over Waikato Rapids and the Bay of Plenty Surge.

The Futsal Navy Blues started Match Day 2 with a tough encounter with perennial title challengers Waikato Rapids and got off to a great start when Shaun Morgan slotted home after 8 minutes to hand Nic Downes team a 1-0 lead.

Mike Antamanov prevented Rapids equalising when he denied Kareem Osman two minutes later only for the Rapids to eventually equalise.

Morgan, who has enjoyed a solid start to his City Futsal career, then popped up with a winner with just 25 seconds left on the clock to secure a valuable 2-1 win.

Shaun Morgan, who turned out for the Waikato Rapids previously, was delighted with his brace.

"It was a good feeling and the refs really let the game flow but it was tough going against team-mates I had played alongside for six or seven seasons.

"It was good to get on the scoresheet but Mike Antamanov had a superb game and made plenty of top saves and was brilliant for us.

"The game with Bay of Plenty Surge will be tough after yesterday's game which was also tight but we feel confident," Morgan told www.aucklandcityfc.com.

Downes was proud of the way his team bounced back from yesterday's mixed start. 

"We're buzzing with the victory. Yesterday I talked about the importance of momentum and in this game we had it, they had it, we had it but the back end of the game we had it and I'm happy we won.

"Mike is an unbelievable goalkeeper and his performances recently have earned him a call-up to the national team and he's very handy to have at the back for us.

"We have a good squad and everyone plays a specific role and everything we asked of the players they did it and kept the intensity up which is hard to do and they achieved," he said.

Auckland City FC 3-2 Bay of Plenty Surge

The victory over Rapids was then backed up by another win over Bay of Plenty Surge, 3-2.

Two Aalok Paudel goals bookended a Sean McIntee strike to hand City a 3-0 advantage only for Surge to live up to their name and grab two goals near the end to set up a tense finish.

Paudel said City did well to finish in the ascendancy.

"It was the last game of a busy weekend and everyone was feeling it near the end but we're just glad we got the right result.

"Everyone put in a good shift and we scored some good goals.

"We didn't start the weekend well with the loss to East Coast Bays. We've got a lot of new players but we got better as the weekend went on.

"I'm sure Nic will make sure we'll work on a few things before we face up next weekend," he said.

Goalkeeper Vaughan Somerville was positive about the City performance overall.

"We put ourselves in a very good position early on against Surge to go 3-0 in front and at that point the momentum changed and they came back into it.

"We didn't capitalise on a few opportunities we created up top and it was tight but we got the three points in the end - job done.

"If you had offered us three wins at the start of the competition we might have taken that but there are a few results we might have secured a bit earlier by finishing our chances.

"But we walk away pretty happy with nine points out of 12 from the weekend and there are a few work ons we have to look at going into next weekend.

"Being at the back with Mike Antamanov is a hard job and when we are busy its not a good thing and when its quiet thats a good thing.

"We just keep doing our jobs and keep the team in the games and Mike made some incredible saves in the first game.

"Playing in goal is a tough job - you both love it and hate it but we're there and hopefully we can continue to do that.

"We need to be more clinical with our chances so we can kill games a lot earlier and even against East Coast Bays and Rapids we had chances to put the game away sooner.

"If we can do that in future games that will make things a lot easier on ourselves," he said.

The Ford Futsal SuperLeague concludes next weekend with the finals series also at Bruce Pulman Arena.

Ends

Ford Futsal SuperLeague

Saturday 12 November 2022

Auckland City FC 3-5 East Coast Bays

Waikato Rapids 10-5 Bay of Plenty Surge

East Coast Bays 6-3 Waikato Rapids

Bay of Plenty Surge 3-5 Auckland City FC

Sunday 13 November 2022

East Coast Bays 6-5 Bay of Plenty Surge

Auckland City FC 2-1 Waikato Rapids

Waikato Rapids 0-4 East Coast Bays

Auckland City FC 3-2 Bay of Plenty Surge

STANDINGS

East Coast Bays 12pts

Auckland City FC 9pts

Waikato Rapids 3pts

Bay of Plenty Surge 0pts

Ford Futsal SuperLeague Finals

1st v 4th

2nd v 3rd

Winner of A v Winner of B

Loser of A v Loser B

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