HAKOAH Eastern Suburbs achieved double success at the Futsal NSW Premier League 2 grand finals last Saturday at Valentine Sports Park, with two of its teams producing stirring, but contrasting victories.
Unbeaten all year and boasting three NSW representatives in Ethan De Melo, Zac Sapsford and Adam Strasser, the club’s 14 years boys’ side went into their grand final as clear favourites against Campbelltown City Quake.
They started the game with all guns blazing, easily pulling apart Quake’s defence.
Within the first 10 minutes, De Melo had scored a hat-trick and Golden Boot winner Sapsford chimed in with a goal of his own.
The score remained 4-0 at -half-time, but second-half goals to Jared Frack, Ben Katz and Timothy Scott saw Hakoah thump Quake 7-0.
It was another clean sheet for Hakoah’s goalie Daniel Solsky, who was named most valuable goalkeeper in the competition at the post-match presentation.
Hakoah president Daniel Sharp described the team’s achievements as “truly amazing”.
He added, “None of this could have been achieved without their amazing coach Adriano De Melo, who has now won four championships – three of these in seasons where the team he coached did not lose a game.”
Hakoah’s 16 years boys’ team knew they would have to play at their absolute best to have any chance of victory in their grand final against Sydney City Eagles, having squeezed into the finals series only by winning their last five games of the regular season.
And before kick-off they found their captain was ineligible to play due to accumulating too many yellow cards. Ethan De Melo came to the rescue, taking his place in the team just hours after playing in the 14s decider.
Both sides tested each other’s defence in the opening five minutes before Hakoah’s Aswin Adinanto struck one past the keeper with a superb volley finish.
But goals proved hard to find from then on, and the remainder of the first half was an arm wrestle.
Hakoah doubled its lead when Jake Besser scored early in the second half, moments after striking the crossbar with a powerful strike.
The Eagles hit back when Dean Pelekanos scored, but Hakoah regained a two-goal lead after being awarded a penalty, which Besser duly converted.
But this game still had a long way to go. The Eagles ensured there would be a gripping finish when Nikita Parkes slotted one past Hakoah’s keeper, and they continued to press, even using their goalie in attacking raids.
It took a well-directed shot by Hakoah’s Henry Bickerstaff in the final minutes to get the team home 4-2.
During the post-game presentation, Hakoah’s keeper Guy Squadritto was awarded the most valuable keeper in the competition.
Other highlights for Hakoah on the day were Cassandra Nader (13 years girls) and Mary Vouros (15 years girls) receiving the most valuable goalkeeper award in their respective competitions, and Giselle Pipino receiving the Golden Boot award in the 13 years girls’ competition.
In the Premier League 1, Jewish player Jonathan Temple’s team, Inner West Magic, narrowly missed out on reaching the youth men’s decider after losing a penalty shootout following a 2-2 draw with Mountain Majik in the preliminary final on February 25 in Blacktown.