TOLKA ROVERS FC…….7 PUSKAS HAGI…………………5
CUP football always loves an upset, a result against the head, an outcome that wasn’t on the radar. That’s exactly what happened at Donabate Community Centre when Tolka Rovers and Puskas Hagi served up a thrilling 40 minutes of riveting action in the FAI Futsal Cup.
By Eamon Scott
It looked as if the script would run to plan when Puskas Hagi netted in the opening minute when Victor Mihai Mandea slotted past Matheus Costa off an intercepted back pass.
One up within a minute and Puskas Hagi, barely in their stride, were up and running but if they thought it was going to be plain sailing they were brought back to earth with goalkeeper Costa receiving a free wide on the right and Vinius Dias Alves at the back post slotting home on 16.07 off his driven cross.
Both sides committed to attack but Tolka Rovers’ use of ‘keeper Costa as a fifth outfield player committing to an all out attack was asking question of PH by the minute.
A brave approach so early in the game but their ambition was rewarded when keeper Costa crashed an unstoppable shot past the flaying attempt of Sabasanu Marius Lucian in the Puskas Hagi goal.
Both sides had chances to add to their tally but the net-minders showed that their reflexes were sharpened to the pitch of the game and outstretched arms and legs played their part in keeping their opponents at bay.That was until the clock showed 47 seconds left to play in the first half when a speculative shot from just outside the Tolka Rovers penalty area from Mandea eluded the unsighted Costa to tie the scores up at the break at 2-2.
Both sets of coaching teams put on an animated – if somewhat controlled – halftime appeal to their charges looking for more intensity and more belief in their abilities.
Puskas Hagi started in similar vein to the first-half by finding the net within a minute – this time from the penalty spot after a handball. Again Mandea showed a calm disposition as he rattled the back of the net once more.
It looked as if Puskas Hagi might go on and add to their goal count as they stroked the ball with growing confidence but Tolka were tenacious in their tackling and Costa committing to supporting their attacks. And again their ambition was rewarded when Hugo Lon do Costa Silva crashed the ball to the net as Puskas Hagi had the ball pilfered off them close to goal.
Three all and just over 15 minutes to play and the game is there to be won for both sides. On 10.52 on the clock Tolka regained the lead at 4-3 with Dias Alves getting on the end of a flowing move to glance past Sabasanu Marius Lucian. Within a minute Puskas Hagi (9.50) had tied the game up – this time Togan Razvan Mihai angling a shot home from out on the right side of the tight Donabate pitch.
The countdown was on and the pressure, atmosphere and commitment rose a notch or two as the play switched from end to end with both sides looking to max out the dimensions of the tight Donabate court.
Tolka had entered the game as underdogs but they were matching their more experienced rivals and it was Rovers’ desire which stepped up to the plate and with 8.36 on the clock Nicolas Yoc Neves won possession as Puskas Hagi dwelled on the ball and it was dispatched to the net with aplomb and to the delight of their bench.
That goal put it up to Puskas Hagi to respond but on 7.44 do Costa Silva’s speculative shot from distance blindsided Sabasanu Marius Lucian and for the first time in the game there was a two goal gap in the scoreline at 6-4. Puskas Hagi had a great chance to reduce but on 7.18 they hit hit post and the ball rebounded to safety.
Frustration for Puskas Hagi. That miss seemed to deflate the green shirted Puskas Hagi and with 5.25 on the clock Matheus Marins curled a beautiful shot from the left wing past keeper and covering defender and the whoops of joy on the Tolka bench confirmed the upset about to happen.
Alexandar Leu netted for Puskas Hagi from close in with 2.45 on the clock to reduce it to 7-5 but Tolka were not going to be denied and they defended resolutely for the remainder of the game to seal a deserved victory and throw the cat among the pigeons with three teams now locked on 12 points – all chasing a spot in the semi-finals of the FAI Futsal Cup.
Excellent game and an entertaining spectacle from start to finish which was well marshalled by officials Pat Henry and Claudiu Cimpoesu.
The game was a high intensity encounter and both AUL sides have brilliant futsal talent in their ranks.
I’d encourage anyone with a mild interest in futsal to go out and check out an AUL League or Futsal match happening near you.
The game is threatening to explode here in Ireland. Catch it early and enjoy the fun!
PUSKAS HAGI: Sabasanu cMarius Lucian; Costinel Radut, Togan Razvan Mihai, Victor Mihai, Mandea, Alexandr Leu, Ionel Madalin, Adrian Marius Mihalache.
TOLKA ROVERS FC:: Matheus Costa; Thiago Andrade, Vinius Terw dias Alves, Matheus Mrins, Vinnicus Irode Romon, Roger Santos, Hugo Uzon do CostaSilva, Nicolas Yoc Neves.
Referee: Pat Henry, Claudiu Cimpoesu.