ArchiSoccer Cup
News Report

Champions 2019

22/03/19

MAP 2019 Champions

Congratulations to MAP Architecture winners of the 2019 ArchiSoccer Cup who defeated Gray Pusand by 4:1 in a pulsating final. We take a detailed look at how the game unfolded.

MAP Architecture+ 4 : 1 Gray Puksand+

After 5 months of play, extreme heat, biblical rains, 49 teams, 239 games, 1,141 goals and a lot of fun we were now down to the last 2 teams in the competition to face off in the grand final, MAP Architecture and Gray Puksand 

The throngs of Gray Puksand players and supporters descended on the manicured turf of the Wesley College Kroger oval for the finale. The team anxiously awaited the arrival of their opponents who were nowhere to be seen. A few lonely MAP representatives paused for the cavalry to arrive. A single vehicle carrying 50% of the MAP team were negotiating their way through Brunton Avenue traffic due to the AFL season opener between the Tiges and the Blues. As the ArchiSoccer season was ending it was having to contest with another commencing, both of equal magnitude!

After being trapped in the car for the hour the MAP team burst onto the field like spring lambs. A quick team photo and we were good to go. MAP took the kick off and immediately went on the attack, winning a couple of corners. The ball floated up in front Federico Della Zassa who skilfully volleyed a powerful shot through the defence. It squeezed through the narrowest of gaps between the Gray Puksand keeper and the nearside goal post in what could be labelled as one of the goals of the finals. With only 30 seconds on the clock, the crowd fell silent. Was this really happening? The game had hardly begun yet and Gray Puksand found themselves picking the ball out of the back of the net.
   
As Gray Puksand recovered from the initial shell shock, the intensity of the game lifted a few notches. MAP however were still doing most of the attacking. Thankfully for Gray Puksand, Zeljko Trkulja was having a sterling performance in nets as he parried away shot after shot. Each time he did so he bolstered his teammates spirits and the supporters roared. Unfortunately though, his heroic endeavours were short lived. A great cross ball came to the feet of Mo Kurucu from MAP. He put his head over the ball and rifled a superb shot. Roger Borland from Gray Puksand attempted to block the shot but inadvertently deflected it leaving the keeper no chance to react and it went straight through his legs. As Gray Puksand yepled in anguish and disbelief the MAP players cried out in joy. With only nine minutes gone on the clock MAP were amazingly 2-0 up. Admittedly they had the rub of the green, but they deserved to be ahead with the way in which they were playing. It was a masterclass in ArchiSoccer.

Many teams would have crumbled at this point but in an amazing show of resolve Gray Puksand picked themselves up and started to play their best football. They continually worked it up the ground and they were rewarded with a few half. Although as much as they tried they struggled to break down the MAP defence in the final third of the field. MAP are not known for their defence, and why would they when they have an attack as potent as they do. They are often susceptible to leaking a few goals however they will likely always outscore you at the other end. Today however was a different setup. Alfred John normally plays as an attacking winger for MAP. Having picked up an injury the week before he was reportedly “60% fit” and retreated into the centre of defence in a bid to conserve himself. Though more circumstantial and less tactical it proved to be one of the master strokes of the game. He read the game beautifully and swatted away every ball that came within reach of those lanky legs.

All the momentum was now with Gray Puksand and as halftime drew closer it looked as though their ability to capitalise on that would be lost. With a mere 17 seconds on the clock Adam Dwyer dribbled his way through the defence and drilled one into the back of the net. As if playing out a movie script where the hero saves the day in the very last seconds. The one-sided crowd went wild and before their cheers fell silent they were interrupted by the half time siren. Was the tide staring to turn? Going into the break MAP led 2-1 but it looked as though Gray Puksand might just be able to turn this game around.
 
Gray Puksand eagerly continued to chase the equaliser in the second half. goal. MAP being the seasoned team that they are just continued to shut them down, biding their time for the momentum to shift. 7 minutes into the second half they got their chance. in an excellent piece of team play, the “60% fit” Alfred John from MAP burst down the right wing. He laid it off to Mo Kurucu in the right corner. Being the danger man that he is he drew the entire defence including the keeper towards him like a tractor beam. Alfred had continued his run into the centre, Mo pulled the ball across the box to Alfred and he calmly slotted it into an open net. A brilliant team goal that steadied the ship for MAP and left Gray Puksand scratching their heads. Them seemed bereft of ideas. In hindsight maybe Gray Puksand could have used their half time to reset, hold the ball, draw out the defence to open up the space in behind. By electing to go full out attack they inadvertently crowded themselves out of the ability to create clear chances.

MAP were now very much in the driving seat at 3-1. It would have taken a small miracle for Gray Puksand to claw their way back from here, they never gave up but I’m sure they felt it. Like a cat toying with its prey MAP inflicted the killer blow. Another shot by the ever-present Kurucu was palmed away by Gray Puksand’s Zeljko Trkulja in nets. In a scramble to clear the ball it bobbled to the feet of MAP’s Federico Della Zassa. 8 metres out with a clear shot on goal he didn’t have to be asked twice and blasted it into the bottom left hand corner leaving the keeper with no chance in nets and notched up his second for the evening
 
4-1 and that is how it finished. MAP were simply too good for Gray Puksand on the night. They may have had a bit of early luck, but they controlled the game for large parts and capitalised on their chances when they presented. Gray Puksand were simply left wondering where the form they had in the previous three weeks of finals had gone. Maybe the difference was having to chase the game from the very start. They are more adept to maintaining a lead.
 
A massive Congratulations to MAP Architecture who lift the trophy for the second time in 3 years. They are a skilful and tight knit unit that play the game in great spirit. They will no doubt feature in finals for years to come.

Commiserations to Gray Puksand who have had a stellar season, and a grand final berth would have been beyond their wildest ambitions at the outset of the season, but they certainly deserved it and will hopefully be back in the mix next year.   

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