Manchester shook off their poor run of late after securing a 7-6 win over a talented Loughborough side in what will go down as one of the games of the season and a great advert for the game of futsal.
A hat-trick from Joaquin ‘Kimet’ Garcia and two goals from Danny Stapleton helped the Blues get across the line in what was an end to game and exciting encounter from start to finish, which was streamed live on The Daily Futsal’s Facebook page.
Blaise Gapp and Michael Koopowitz scored braces for Loughborough but their efforts were not enough to topple the visitors.
Manchester gave themselves breathing space from the bottom sides in the Super League table as their win moved them to level on points with Oxford City Lions in 6th after starting the day in 9th with five straight defeats.
It was a win that lifted the voodoo cloud over Sergi Saldana’s men as he was understandably delighted with their victory after such a poor run of late.
“We dominated the game but when Loughborough scored we played with nerves and took our foot off the pedal. We can play brilliantly on our day, but our mentality is the most important thing for us right now. We have to keep playing at the same level throughout without letting the result affect us.”
Goal scorer Danny Stapleton was also very happy to get himself on the scoresheet as he scored two fantastic goals to help his side to victory.
“It feels great to be playing properly again after my injury and grabbing a few goals isn’t too bad either, I’m just happy we managed to grab a win from a hard-fought game. Our new style of play I think suits us. We are a much better team when we’re dynamic off the ball and I think this new style forces us to do that. It helps us to play to our strengths.”
From the off, Manchester were patient in their build-up play and were quite happy to let Loughborough sit deep and keep their shape and pressed high when out of possession.
This tactic paid off when Joaquin Garcia latched onto two errors from Loughborough defenders, both were ferocious strikes into the top corner to leave the keeper no chance for an early two goal advantage.
The game’s momentum swung in favour of the hosts as Manchester’s Giles Collier was sent off for violent conduct after reacting angrily and shoving Ben Amare, who was also booked for the altercation.
A minute later, Loughborough got one back through Tomasso Toti who capitalised on the numerical advantage to make it 2-1.
Joaquin Garcia was having a fantastic game for Manchester and his trickery on both wings were causing Loughborough all sorts of problems and had to be admired.
Toti almost levelled the scores with his deflected shot that almost beat Christiano Pinto in the Manchester net but kept the score at 2-1.
In the eighteenth minute, Danny Stapleton picked the ball up in the middle of the court, beat his man and toe poked brilliantly into the corner and it will surely be contested for one of the goals of the month, 3-1 to the Blues who were looking good going into the interval.
Loughborough refused to lie down as Blaise Gapp anticipated a stray pass from Doug Reed and finished well to keep themselves in contention going into the second half.
Danny Stapleton in action earlier on in the season against Loughborough. [Marc Taylor]
Almost immediately as the second half began, Kyle Lilley received the ball on the left and toe poked it into the bottom corner to make it 3-3 and all square.
If there was a dubious goals panel for futsal, Jordan Edge’s effort would have gone to it as his side footed effort is on target but is parried in by the goalkeeper and over the line into the corner. It might be a case of make your own mind up as to who claims that one. We’ll give it to Edgy of course.
Loughborough’s Blaise Gapp certainly had an eye for goal as he released a thunderous strike from long range which only just went wide of the far post.
Shortly after, Manchester gave themselves a two-goal advantage as Adam Lavin did brilliantly well to weave into space through Loughborough’s defence and his lay off left the simplest of jobs for Jordan Fournier.
That wasn’t the end to the drama however, straight from kick-off Michael Koopowitz hit back straight away with a good finish to make it 5-4 to the Blues. At this stage, nobody could have predicted which way this game was going to finish up.
Loughborough almost equalised again two minutes later with some good work from Koopowitz down the left-hand side, his pass zipped across the face of goal to Toti who put the ball wide of Pinto’s near post.
The Whites then got their reward as Koopowitz picked up the ball to start a counter-attack but decided to shoot from range and managed to beat Christiano Pinto in between the sticks to bring the scores level once again at 5-5.
The hosts then took the lead for the first time in the game as Blaise Gapp added himself to the scoresheet again with a brilliant strike from range. The score was 6-5 to Loughborough with 10 minutes to play and it could have gone either way.
There was a period of the game which Loughborough took control of, mainly through Nathan Davies and Blaise Gapp as they tried to dictate the tempo and slow things down as they were leading.
The pressure then took its toll as some good pressing from Manchester led to a mistake from Loughborough as Blues skipper Richardson was sent through on goal with Joaquin Garcia in support. He unselfishly played it to Kimet to complete his hat-trick and even the score up for the third time in the game to 6-6.
Both sides had chances through Blaise Gapp of Loughborough and Doug Reed of Manchester, but it was the Blues who would strike last as a corner is laid off to Danny Stapleton who smashed the ball with the side of his foot into the top corner. Another fantastic goal from him and it was his second of the afternoon that turned out to be the winner and a massive three points for Sergi Saldana’s men.