Futsal Club Toronto makes miraculous comeback to win the 2011 Copa Canada Title

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There are comebacks and then there are COMEBACKS. On Sunday on the biggest stage of them all, and against their longtime cross city rivals, Futsal Club Toronto made one of those COMEBACKS.

The finale to the 8 team mens competition, featuring Canada’s elite futsal clubs, was nothing short of spectacularly mindblowing. Here is the quick leadup to the title match. All the scores are at the bottom along with the tournament leading goalscorers.

SEMI-FINAL #1: Benfica Shockers (LCFL) vs Boca Juniors (TFL) – One of the nation’s most consistent futsal teams during the past decade, the Benfica Shockers of London, Ontario, brought their ‘A’ game to the Copa as they finished atop Group A with a perfect 3-0 record while Boca Juniors of Toronto clinched the 2nd playoff spot in Group B with a pair of victories on matchday 1.

Shockers captain, Rob Pereira, opened up the scoring 4 minutes into the 1st half with a solid strike from just outside the top of the crease. Both teams played aggressively, fighting for every ball. With 3 minutes to half Boca tied it up courtesy of a goal by Maxi Gonzalez, who made the best out of an intelligent counter from teammate Ricardo Quiroga.

The intensity picked up further in the 2nd half, at times becoming overly physical, as both teams desperately looked to secure passage to the title match. Boca’s halftime adjustments bore fruit early on as Marcelo Oertel and forward Sergio Marchant each scored to go up 3-1. Boca added a fourth only a few minutes afterwards, before Shockers’ player Abdu Haulsuni brought them back to within a pair. But it was as close as Benfica would get as Boca advanced to the championship final with a decisive 5th goal. (FINAL SCORE: Boca Juniors 5-2 Benfica Shockers.)

SEMI-FINAL #2: Futsal Club Toronto (TFL) vs Toronto Impact (TFL) – Having gone through the group stage undefeated, Futsal Club Toronto had to face the team that had beaten them two weeks earlier for the Toronto Futsal League Playoff Championship in OT; the Toronto Impact.

Both highly technical teams looked even throughout the contest, each trading goals with no squad ever leading by more than one. With arguably Canada’s best two attacking goalkeepers tending the pipes, Joshua Lemos for Impact, and Roy Blanche for FCT, many scoring opportunities came from meticulously built pentagon rotational attacks, with Blanche scoring a blistering pair in the 2nd half. Impact forward, Gianni Annisi, was able to tie the game up late in the 2nd half, finishing up a hat-trick via a wonderfully placed shot in the low left corner that beat a helpless Blanche.

It would take the always undesirable penalties to seperate these two and the difference would be Johan Vargas’ strike from the spot that advanced FCT to the finals. (FINAL SCORE: Futsal Club Toronto 5-5 (4-3 in PENS) Toronto Impact.)

COPA CANADA CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: So it was written. Another epic battle between local Greater Toronto Area rivals would decide the Copa Canada Championship and determine the best mens futsal club in Canada for the 2010/11 season. After battling each other 6 times during the 09/10 campaign, with each team taking 3 matches, and both taking a game this year during the TFL season, both teams met earlier in the group stage match with FCT taking a 8-2 victory, however, with Boca playing mostly reserve players to prepare for the semi’s. And this match would write another unbelievable chapter in their story.

The game exploded right from the opening whistle, with both teams playing a very defensively disciplined 2-2 system. Boca Juniors 26 year old star, JP Marchant opened up the scoring 6 minutes in before his older brother, Sergio, doubled the lead to put Boca up 2-0. But FCT answered back immediately when Elbio Lombardi laced a rocket down low to bring them back within 1. But Boca was able to take the ever so valuable momentum back to the locker room at half when the elder Marchant scored his second to go up 3-1.

The 2nd half opened up with Boca starting where they left off as Geman Rivero widened the gap to 4-1 and Sergio Marchant capping a hat trick to put a commanding 5-1 lead with only 10 minutes left to play.

Futsal Club Toronto, had many opportunities to bring the game back but were repeatedly thwarted by a spectacular man of the match performance by Boca keeper, and Kitchener native, Anthony Alves. All hope seemed lost for FCT, until about 7 minutes from time, when a pair of goals by a relentless Leo Laurito, scored 47 seconds apart, put them back within a pair. Lombardi scored again a few minutes afterward to bring FCT back within one.

FCT pressed hard to complete the miracle comeback when Sergio Marchant, using his sharp cerebral defensive skills, intercepted a pass from Blanche with just over a minute remaining. Faced with an open net and conceding the final dagger, Blanche had no choice but to pull down Marchant and received a red, giving Boca a man advantage for the remainder of the half and a thread away from sewing up the title.

But instead of closing the game out by spreading the ball across the court, Boca rifled a shot on FCT’s net and replacement keeper Danny Velastegui fired a quick counter throw to Lombardi in the far right sid eof the pitch who then found an shockingly open Leo Laurito who faked a low shot, which Alves bit on, before roofing up up high to tie the game up at 5-5 with only 8 seconds on the clock. The crowd at West Humber Collegiate Institute roared in disbelief as they couldn’t believe what was transpiring.

But before the golden goal overtime started, controversy emerged as the 4 referees discussed how much time was left in the man advantage before concluding that the penalty had expired, which Boca profusely protested to no avail.

It was 3 minutes in when Laurito, fresh off his MVP season in the TFL, completed the miraculous comeback with a vicious waist level strike to clinch the title. FCT leapt off the bench in celebration while Boca stood in disbelief, left wondering what went wrong.

Congratulations to Futsal Club Toronto on winning the Copa Canada Canadian Futsal Championships in epic fashion. A big thank you goes out to all Futsal Canada staff and volunteers on a succesful competition and to sponsors PENALTY, for providing the best futsal equipment on earth. Watch for the photo gallery and match videos in the media section sometime early next week. 

Saturday April 9th
Venue: Earl Haig SS
.

 

11:40               Group B: 5v8              Futsal Club Toronto 8-2 London Gunners

12:20               Group A: 1v4              Toronto Impact 4-2 Toronto City                 

1:00                 Group A: 7v6              London Spartans 1-6 Boca Juniors

1:40                 Group B: 2v3              Benfica Shockers 5-3 Real Toronto

2:20                 Group A: 7v5              London Spartans 3-6 Futsal Club Toronto

3:00                 Group B: 6v8              Boca Juniors 6-1 London Gunners

3:40                 Group A: 4v2              Toronto City 2-3 Benfica Shockers

4:20                 Group B: 8v7              London Gunners 5-9 London Spartans

5:00                 Group A: 2v1              Benfica Shockers 3-0 Toronto Impact

5:40                 Group B: 3v4              Real Toronto 8-1 Toronto City

 GROUP A

TEAM

W

L

T

PTS

GF

GA

GD

Benfica Shockers

3

0

0

9

11

5

+6

Toronto Impact

2

1

0

6

7

5

+2

Real Toronto

1

2

0

3

11

8

+3

Toronto City

0

3

0

0

5

15

-10

 GROUP B

TEAM

W

L

T

PTS

GF

GA

GD

Futsal Club Toronto

3

0

0

9

22

7

+15

Boca Juniors

2

1

0

6

14

10

+4

London Spartans

1

2

0

3

13

17

-4

London Gunners

0

3

0

0

8

23

-15

 

Sunday April 10th
Venue: West Humber CI.

 

10:00               Group A: 1v3              Toronto Impact 3-0 Real Toronto

10:40               Group B: 6v5              Boca Juniors 2-8 Futsal Club Toronto

——————————————————————————————

11:50               Semi-Final #1:            Group A#1: Benfica Shockers 2-5 Group B #2 Boca Juniors

12:30               Semi-Final #2:            Group B#1: Futsal Club Toronto 6-5 (PENS) Group A#2 Toronto Impact__

1:40                 Championship Final   Futsal Club Toronto 6-5 (OT) Boca Juniors

Congratulations to Futsal Club Toronto on winning the 2011 Copa Canada National Futsal Championship Tournament!

 

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