Futsalroos fall to Thailand

Qantas Futsalroos have been narrowly defeated by Thailand 3-4 in an international Friendly in Suphaburi, Thailand.

Qantas Futsalroos have been narrowly defeated by Thailand 3-4 in an international Friendly in Suphaburi, Thailand.

ACT goalkeeper, Angelo Konstantinou was drafted into the Qantas Futsalroos squad last week to replace fellow custodian Gavin O-Brien who has an ankle injury.

All 14 squad players were on the match sheet and played in the game, with only Konstantinou not getting any court time.

The Qantas Futsalroos got off to the perfect start in the second minute when Tobias Seeto pinched the ball launching into a counter attack, Danny Ngaluafe then squared up the ball to Chris Zeballos in a 2 on 1 situation and made no mistake in hitting the back of the net.

On the 4 minute mark Thailand equalized. Crisp passing at the back lead into a well executed movement which left a diagonal ball being passed across the face of the Qantas Futsalroos goal for a back post tap in.

Thailand scored 2 more goals before the break going in with a 3-1 advantage. Thailand-s planned attacking movements were causing the Qantas Futsalroos defence problems.

Qantas Futsalroos Head Coach Steve Knight made a few tactical changes for the second half and Australia came out with a better understanding of Thailand-s movement patterns.

The Qantas Futsalroos came back into the match and with quicker ball movement and started to cause the opposition problems with the resulting freedom in attack.

11 minutes into the second half Fernando De Moraes brought the Qantas Futsalroos back into the game. Greg Giovenali played the ball into Danny Ngaluafe-s feet on the edge of the Thailand D. Ngaluafe backed into his Thai defender and rolled the ball out to the advancing De Moraes who made no mistake in blasting his shot onto the cross bar and into the back of the net.

With 5 minutes to go Danny Ngaluafe equalised with a well finished move capitalising from a Thailand mistake. Ngaluafe passed to Wright down the left hand side who took a first time shot, the Thai keeper made a save but Ngaluafe, who continued his run, picked up the scraps to volley home past the scrambling custodian.

Shortly after, Thailand again took the lead with a cheeky goal. Building up from the back a ball was played into the target with pace, Qantas Futsalroos goalkeeper Peter Spathis came out to close down the Thai player but a neat flick left Spathis in no man-s land as the chip got up and down and rolled into the net.

The Qantas Futsalroos had numerous chances in the dying minutes. De Moraes stole the ball off the Thai goalkeeper near the half way line only to have his shot cleared off the line. With 40 seconds to go De Moraes was fouled just inside the attacking half. Knight called a timeout and the following set piece play caused the Thai defence problems which led to a back post shot from Gomez which unfortunately missed the target.

Following the match, Knight was happy with his team-s performance and paid tribute to the support from his player-s state league clubs.

“I was impressed with how the players performed throughout the game. This practise match served its purpose in identifying areas we need to improve on before the tournament begins in Dubai. Although we matched with a team that I think will do well at the world cup we need to stay grounded and focus on our goal at the AFC Championships”.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank South Melbourne FC, Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Mount Druitt Town Rangers and GHFA Spirit for their support in allowing their players to join the squad for the championships,” concluded Knight.

The Qantas Futsalroos will play another friendly match against Thailand on Sunday 20 May before heading to the UAE for the AFC Futsal Championship 2012.

The Qantas Futsalroos have been drawn in Group C for the AFC Futsal Championship 2012 and will open their campaign against Qatar at the Al-Shabab Stadium on 25 May, followed by the Korea Republic the next day with their final group match against IR Iran at the Al Wasl Stadium on 27 May.

The top two in each group (eight teams in total) will qualify to the knockout stage (quarterfinals) and the four winners of the quarterfinals will play in the semi-finals. The two winners will advance to the final and the two losing teams will play a 3rd and 4th placing play-off.

The Qantas Futsalroos will play Thailand again in another international on Sunday 20 May in Suphaburi, Thailand before travelling to the UAE.

The top four teams from the AFC Futsal Championship will qualify for FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012 which will be held from 1-18 November.