Astig Futsal bagged the championship in Saipan Soccer School's U12 Co-ed Christmas Futsal Tournament after edging Fake Madrid in the winner-take-all finale, 1-0, last Saturday at the TSL Sports Complex.
The Jershwin Angeles-coached Astig Futsal caught a break in the first half to score the lone goal in the finals and played more aggressive on defense in the second to pull off an upset over the top-seeded Fake Madrid.
An own goal was made when there was a scramble for possession inside the penalty area midway in the first half. Astig Futsal's Louie Calayag then managed to win the battle for the ball and went for a shot from the left key inside the penalty box, while Fake Madrid's Sunjoon Tenorio ran to the center to help out on defense and the leather hit the latter's leg before rolling toward the goal.
Astig Futsal protected the shaky 1 point lead in the first 15 minutes of play, as Fake Madrid seemed not ready to move on from that costly error.
Not out of the woods yet, Astig Futsal became more active on offense in the second half, dominated possession, and could've scored a few more goals if not for Clayton Izuka's gallant stand on defense. Izuka rolled on the court several times, as he dove for the saves. There was even one occasion when he was almost hit on the face by one Astig Futsal attacker, as he chased the leather to prevent the third straight attempt from the opposing team.
Fake Madrid's offense failed to match Izuka's persistence on defense, as only Tenorio was left at the other side of the pitch to make several attempts to score, while Edwin Kim had a hard time getting away against his taller and equally faster defender. Logan Mister and Guineverre Borja, who scored in Fake Madrid's previous games, were forced to concentrate on defense, pursuing the tireless Astig Futsal crew.
Astig Futsal was awarded the championship trophy after the title win and each member of the team also received medals. The champion team is composed of Emmanuel Aniana, James Ermitanio, David Mafnas, Christopher Aninzo, Jether Yobech, De Jana Muna, Jerlyn Castillo, Diana Maniacop, and Angelica Sally.
Organizers also handed out medals to the Golden Boot awardees-Tenorio and San Antonio Footlose's Bernadette Horey, who drilled 13 and eight goals, respectively.
Meanwhile, San Antonio Footlose won the battle for third place against Spencer United, 6-1.
Horey nailed a pair of goals in the win, while Charizama Aragon, Dave Tanghal, Mareko Tekopua, and Jherico Tiamzon added one apiece. Eunsyu Hahn scored the lone goal for Spencer United.
San Antonio Footlose and Spencer United were forced to play in the consolation game after losing to Astig Futsal and Fake Madrid in the semifinals, respectively, last Friday. Fake Madrid arranged a semis duel against the last-seeded Spencer United after posting a field-best 4-1-1 win-draw-loss record over the latter's 0-1-5 slate in the two-round robin preliminary phase. Fake Madrid earned 13 points before the playoffs, scored 25 goals, and gave up only nine, while Spencer United logged seven goals and allowed 33.
Astig Futsal had the second most goals with 17 and entered the playoffs seeded second with its 3-1-2 card. San Antonio Footlose had a 2-3-1 mark and collected nine goals to gain the No. 3 seeding in the playoffs. (Saipan Tribune)