Lightning surge to win Nationals


Lightning surge to win Nationals
NSW Lightning were crowned men?s open champions at the FFA Futsal National Championships after an epic 4-2 Grand Final win over the ACT Cobras at the AIS Arena.
The Lightning came from 1-0 down to complete a memorable end to the competition that threatened to derail them halfway through when they suffered three losses in quick succession. A last-gasp win in both the final round of regular matches, to seal a semi-final spot, and a nerve-wracking extra-time win over NSW Thunder in the last four was topped by a superb display in the decider.
Rhys Giovanali was named man of the match after a performance full of guile and energy that left the ACT Cobras floundering in his wake. It was Giovanali who pulled his team off the canvas after George Cattanach converted his eighth goal of the tournament, following an astute Trent Flanigan pass, to give the Cobras the lead. Giovanali?s rapid fire response, a thunderous left foot effort from range, sent out the requisite message to his team that a reverse of the 2-4 loss to the Cobras earlier this week was possible.
After Shervin Adeli left Flanigan in his wake to coolly slot past the advancing Kieren Stroh, Lightning were in command. A late first-half burst saw Tom Rogic stretch to volley in a magnificent equaliser to leave the match poised at 2-2 at the break.
The second half saw the Lightning surge to the front via an Ediz Alpkaya strike and, when Corey Biczo extended the lead to 4-2 the writing was on the wall for the home town team.
Even the desperate measure of putting outfield player Matt Menser into goals to create the fifth man failed to produce a response and the Cobras challenge wilted away. All that was left was for the Lightning to celebrate a shock championship triumph in some style.
Final: NSW Lightning 4 (Rhys Giovanali, Shervin Adeli, Ediz Alpaca, Corey Biczo) defeated ACT Cobras 2 (George Cattanach, Tom Rogic)