FFA National Futsal Championships kick off

The 2013 FFA National Futsal Championships got underway with a large crowd enjoying an excellent in the opening round.

The 2013 FFA National Futsal Championships got underway today at the Australian Institute of Sport with the Open Men-s competition producing three enthralling matches to keep a large crowd entertained after the Opening Ceremony kicked off proceedings.

ACT 0 NSW Metro 1 (Jonathan Kontalis 35-) NSW Metro stunned an experienced ACT outfit in the opening match of the 2013 National Futsal Championships claiming a narrow 1-0 win thanks to a late goal from Jonathan Kontalis.

The ACT can bemoan their luck having seen a number of opportunities fall by the wayside in an entertaining match. The home team dominated the opening half and only a sensational goalkeeping display from Roberto Maiorana kept NSW in the match.

The NSW custodian made a string of top notch saves including denying Robbie Cattanach from point blank range, pushing wide a fierce drive from Trent Flanigan and tipping a Daniel Fulton shot past the upright. Fulton had earlier gone close when his clever clip over Maiorana in the 2nd minute came back off the base of the post as the ACT flew out of the blocks.

That-s not to say that NSW didn-t have chances of their own with Takuya Umeda and Futsalroo international Jarrod Basger testing the reflexes of Kieran Stroh but the ACT ‘keeper proved an insurmountable obstacle.

The Blues came more into it after the break, prompted in the main by the experience of Miles Downie and Basger, with the latter blasting a low drive just past the post and sliding wide from a tight angle after rounding Stroh.

And it was NSW who surprisingly took the lead with just five minutes remaining. A turnover in the final third resulted in a lightning fast breakaway which resulted in Kontalis rifling his shot low into the bottom corner for a quality finish that sealed the points.

South Australia 1 (Haris Vuckic 26-) Tasmania 4 (Joshua Quan 10-, Andrew Clark 18-, Adam McKeown 27-, Eli Luttmer 29-) Tasmania got their championship off to a flying start with a convincing 4-1 win over South Australia in an end-to-end match at the AIS Arena.

Tasmanian skipper Andrew Clark fired the first salvo of the match having cleverly spun away from his marker and advanced on goal only to see his shot well blocked by Cameron Rogowski in the South Australian goal.

It was a minor reprieve for South Australia though and Tasmania hit the lead midway through the opening half with a finely taken goal. Joshua Quan was the scorer, breaking from deep to lash a shot past Rogowski and into the far corner of the net.

And they deservedly doubled their advantage minutes later as Clark forced his way into the area and bundled his way past Rogowski to leave himself with the simplest of tasks to tap the ball into the empty net and put his team 2-0 ahead at the interval.

South Australia gave themselves a glimmer of hope with the opening goal of the second stanza as Haris Vuckic struck on the counter-attack but Tasmania simply stepped up a gear and put the match out of reach of their opponents with a quick-fire brace.

Adam McKeown danced around a challenge to fire in the third and, just over a minute later, Eli Luttmer was on hand to make it 4-1 with a tidy strike from just outside the box. The sending off of Vuckic for a late tackle compounded a miserable start for South Australia.

Western Australia 1 (Simon Barber 24-) Victoria 1 (Vadim Mazurskiy 19-) The final match of Round 1 in the men-s competition was a fiercely fought clash between Victoria and Western Australia with the final result ending 1-1.

Victoria created the better chances but was held at bay by an excellent performance from WA no.1 Mirko Mancia. Western Australia-s Daniel Micevski was lively at the other end throughout the opening half and made sure that Victorian shot-stopper Christos Apostolakis was on his toes, forcing him into a smart double-save before David Micevski hit the outside of the post with a rasping half-volley.

It could be argued therefore that it was largely against the run of play that Victoria took the lead but there was no disputing the quality of the goal.

Vadim Mazurskiy cut inside and hammered a wonderful strike past the despairing Mirko Mancia to give Victoria a slender half-time lead. It was almost 2-0 seconds into the second half as Adam Cooper saw a firm shot pushed round the post by Mancia.

The woodwork saved Western Australia twice in the early stages of the second half before they equalised in sensational fashion. A stunning solo run by Ciro Celulari culminated in a sweeping finish from Simon Barber to bring the team-s all-square.

There were glimpses of the talent possessed by Futsalroo international Fernando De Moraes whose silky skills and quick feet threatened to open up the solid West Australia defence but in the main it was an even contest.

The 2013 FFA National Futsal Championships Open Women-s competition followed, with all four teams competing in the tournament in action.

ACT 4 (Rachel Crittenden 1-, 15-, Louisa Marzotto 8-, Becky Roche 16-) Victoria 1 (Stephanie Tanti 33-)

ACT opened the 2013 FFA National Futsal Championship Open Women-s competition in some style with a comfortable 4-1 win over Victoria in what was a real statement of intent from Kirstian Collins- team.

The ACT had a dream start to the match taking the lead after only twelve seconds. From the kick off they burst onto the offensive and Rachel Crittenden latched onto a neat flick to stab the ball past the shell-shocked Victorian goalkeeper Candice Sallama.

The goal settled any early nerves and the home team proceeded to dominate play in the opening half and deservedly doubled the lead in the 8th minute. It was bizarre goal though, as ACT goalkeeper Louisa Marzotto collected a Victorian attempt and, spotting her opposite number well off her line, sent an inch-perfect drop kick arching over Sallama-s head and into the net.

It was almost the perfect first 20 minutes from the ACT, who added to their tally with two goals in a minute as Rachel Crittenden broke away to score before Becky Roche hammered in the fourth sixty seconds later to send ACT 4-0 up at the break.

Victoria came out fighting after the break with Emily Hulbert a stand out but the ACT was in a resolute mood and was proving tough to break down. Victoria deserved some reward for a better second half and Stephanie Tanti pulled one back but it made little difference to the final outcome as the ACT romped home.

NSW Regional 0 NSW Metro 4 (Jo-Anne Saliba 21-, Kathryn Mladineo 32-, Zoeie Redman 34-, 36-) NSW Metro emerged as 3-0 victors from their opening match of the championships but was made it work hard for the points by their Regional counterparts before running away with the tie.

The All-NSW affair between the rebranded Regional and Metro is always a tight affair with no quarter asked or given and this was no exception with little to choose between them from the off.

It was Metro that threatened first with Claire Walsh forcing Regional keeper Lydia McGlinchey into a good save with her feet whilst Renee Tomkins was always a threat with her incisive running and strong shooting.

Good openings were at a premium though with neither side able to fashion any real clear-cut chance as defence-s dominated with the half ending all-square at 0-0.

Having gone through 20 minutes without a goal it took just 45 seconds for the deadlock to be broken in the second half. It was Metro who made the breakthrough, Jo-Anne Saliba showing poise and control to snaffle a half-chance that broke her way as Metro attacked from the outset.

Zoeie Redman went close to making it two in the 30th minute with a well-placed shot that eluded a clutch of players and was unfortunate to bounce back into play off the base of the post, McGlinchey claiming the rebound ahead of a lurking Doris Osman.

But the Regional keeper could do little to prevent Kathryn Mladineo in the 32nd minute as Metro sealed the points before a late Redman double rounded out the win.