After taking out the minor premiership by a runaway 14 points at the conclusion of Series Three earlier in the day, Maccabi again proved too strong for the best New Zealand sides, demolishing Red Sox Manawatu 4-0 in the semi final before second half goals from Jordan Mundell and Jarrod Basger were enough for the visitors to take the title over a well-drilled Capital side.
Nineteen year old Basger also took out the Golden Boot award with 16 goals in fifteen series games, while team mate Daniel Fulton picked up the overall National League MVP. Meanwhile Capital City goalkeeper David Plowright took out the Golden Gloves after excellent performances across the three series in Wellington, Dunedin and Auckland.
Maccabi, Capital City and East City went into the five-round Series Three on Saturday virtually assured of semi-final places, while Red Sox and Football South Futsal were left to battle it out over the weekend for the fourth play-off spot.
Day One saw some intriguing matches, with a resurgent Football South Futsal’s late comeback to draw 2-2 with Maccabi a major highlight. Later in the day they went head to head with Red Sox in a high calibre 4-4 draw, before Red Sox’s 3-0 victory over Christchurch Futsal on Sunday morning cemented the Manawatu side’s place in the semi finals.
After being on the receiving end of an 8-1 thumping from East City on Saturday, Capital City then out-foxed the home side in a tense semi-final, with a late strike from Japanese flanker Shingo Ina sealing a place in the final for the Wellingtonians.
An early Red Sox own goal followed by a Denny Dutra special quickly got Maccabi on track in their semi-final and then goals from the rampant Basger and Samuel Benda completed the scoring for the Australians.
A Capital – Maccabi final was always going to be a tight affair. The Wellingtonians, led by Brazilian trio Lucas Silva, Reginaldo Richard and Enrico Meirelles probably had the better of a cagey first half -retaining possession for long periods while Maccabi sat back and looked to strike on the counter. Two classy breaks from Futsal Whites target Said Soleimanpour brought the best out of Maccabi keeper John Myers, but clear cut first half chances were thin on the ground.
Four minutes into the second half, Mundell pounced on a mistake by a tiring Richard to slip Maccabi’s opening goal past Capital keeper Plowright, before Jarrod Basger’s eighteenth strike of the season with ten minutes left on the clock put the Australians well in command.
With the experienced campaigners Doron Pozniak, Simon Keith, Paul Meltz, Dutra and MVP Fulton rotating on and off the court for the final quarter, Maccabi were well placed to withstand Capital’s late forays into their half – and this they did, to take out a well deserved inaugural NZ Football National League title in front of an appreciative crowd of local futsal fans.
Courtesy Story of New Zealand Football