Tuesday, February 23, 2010

5-a-side Tournament Report

One of the highlights of the weekend was the aforementioned 5-a-side tournament at Harbord. The Sydney Blues were desperately unlucky not to qualify for the finals — if only there was an Intertoto Cup or Fair Play league to qualify!

Thanks to all who played, especially Steve from Perth and Josh from Melbourne.

The Tartan Army were first up, and Roberto Mattcini looked to have pulled off a managerial masterstroke when he unveiled new signing George Dindane, and subsequently played the natural left-back in the right wing position. Dindane made the most of the opportunity, firing in the first goal with his right foot from near half-way, and then later in the match having the audacity to chip the keeper (in 5-a-side, mind) for his second. It wasn’t enough for the Blues though, as they stumbled to a 3-3 draw.

The Blues fell behind almost immediately, thanks to an unfortunate own goal by Brendo, and were always struggling to get back in the contest. Easily our worst performance of the day, against a side that was more intent with fighting amongst themselves than the opposition! It was only some world-class saves from keeper RoHart that kept City in the match.

A poor performance against Australia put City in the near impossible position of requiring two wins from their last two fixtures to qualify for the next round. A tired Liverpool side, reduced to a squad of seven due to injury and playing their third match out of a possible four, were always there for the taking if City were good enough. And they were no match for an inspired City, comfortably taking the match with the goals equally shared.

New boys Steve-from-Perth and Dave destroyed the tired Liverpool team, countered with the husband and wife combination of Brendo and Age in defense, it was a comfortable three points for the Blues.

City were still on course for the finals, however they had to overcome the undefeated Everton to do so. City took the lead early courtesy of a fortunate own goal, where the keeper was more distracted with a ball from another match. Once in the lead, the Blues switched to a defensive approach, with Crouchy, Darren Bellamy and Jameo relying on their trackbackability to neutralize any Everton threat.

Supersub Josh hit the post with his first touch of the match, but it was Crouchy who gave City the lead, latching on to a through-ball from man-of-the-day Jameo. However, Everton threw everything forward and equalized in the dying seconds, RoHart unable to keep the low shot out. It must be said though that this match seemed to finish remarkably early — a case of Reverse Fergie Time, perhaps?

Whilst a win and two draws was enough to claim third spot in the group, it was not enough to qualify for a wildcard entry into the quarter finals. Just like under Mark Hughes, too many draws were costly, as City were bundled out in a very respectable ninth out of 17 teams.

The Sydney Blues 5-a-side Squad
Back Row: Brendan "Brendo The Jet", Nathan "God Squad", Dave, Josh-from-Melbourne, Steve-from-Perth, Benny "The Germ", Matt "Roberto Mattcini/Crouchy"
Front Row: Adriana, George "Dindane", Rohan "Ro-Hart"
Insets: Andrew "Jameo", Darren "Bellers"

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