the Western Flickers September 2017 WASPA. Seven club members competed plus Northern Pheonix President Christos Garagounis and ATFA VP Raffaele Lombardi from Sydney TFC. Great sportsmanship was shown throughout the hotly contested tournament in which several players were fine tuning for the upcoming FISTF Sydney Open.
Raffaele's first game went to plan against the lowest ranked Arjuna Hanafi with a big win sending a warning signal to all about the qualities of the 2017 Asian Cup finalist. His other games proved somewhat tighter affairs but his record remained unblemished with four wins and no goals conceded. The pre-tournament favourite was looking the man to beat.
The battle for 2nd spot was tightly contested. David Simpson took the box seat for second spot early on by defeating Christos 2-0, followed by Adam Deverell being locked in a goalless draw with Christos. Going into the final round of Group games Adam needed to score an upset over Raffaele or hope that David slipped up against Arjuna, but neither occurred. David progressed alongside Raffaele into the semis.
Credit should go to Arjuna for his improvement that included a close 2-1 loss against Adam who's defence is always difficult to breach.
Benny Ng and Adrian Connolly both comfortably accounted for their first opponents 3-0, vs Kevin Grant and Anthony Madiona, respectively. Benny then also found his second game to be straight forward with another 3-0 victory, However, there was a gripping clash between Adrian and Kevin that ultimately determine 2nd place. Adrian took an early lead in the opening seconds of the clash, before Kevin pulled one back prior to half time to go into the break all square. In the second half Kevin took the lead. Adrian went on the attack and equalised, prior to scoring a winner in the dying seconds to take a classic sea-sawing affair. Their desire for open, high scoring games continued throughout the group stage with at least three goals in each of the games of these two players.
In the final Group 2 pool games Kevin accounted for Anthony Madiona 3-0 and Benny proved too good for Adrian to take top spot taking the clash 4-1.
The semi finals pitted Adrian up against Raffaele and Benny against David Simpson. Benny continued his strong form to easily account for David 3-0.
The match between Raffaele and Adrian was a closer contest with Raffaele taking a lucky but deserved lead after piling on the early pressure. It may have been a goalkeeping mistake that contributed much to the goal but throughout most of the rest of the clash Adrian had his keeper to thank for staying in the contest to the end before ultimately going down 1-0.
The final saw Raffaele dominate most of the first half in a high quality game. At times Raffaele took corner after corner, but he couldn't break through and was punished in clinical style. Benny made a fast break with Raffaele overcommitted, taking his first chance of the game to grab a 1-0 lead in the dying seconds of the first half.
The second half saw Raffaele again have the majority of possession but the contest was more even than the first. However, Raffaele couldn't make the most of his territorial advantage and the score remained locked at 1-0 until the end. Congratulations to Benny for taking out the win in what was the highest quality competition seen in Western Flickers history thanks in no small part to Raffaelle competing with he was in Melbourne.