Southern not quite equal to Rapids’ force

The Waikato Rapids may well have started having flashbacks midway through the second half.

But unlike two days previously, Southern United was unable to complete its escape act.

Southern trailed 4-0 with 16 minutes left in its Futsal Super League semifinal in Auckland yesterday.

It rallied and scored three goals in six minutes, but it could not quite close the deficit, going down 4-3.

There was every reason to be optimistic — on Friday, Southern scored three goals in the final three minutes to beat Waikato 4-3.

An 8-1 win over the Bay of Plenty Surge followed on Friday night.

But 6-3 and 5-3 losses to Auckland City and the Northern Comets respectively on Saturday had Southern United coming into the playoffs on a run of two losses.

That did not prevent it applying pressure early.

Southern created many of the chances in the first half yesterday.

But the Waikato defence was resolute and keeper Patrick Steele was fantastic.

Kyle Wisnewski gave the Rapids a lead four minutes in, scoring brilliantly from long range.

Southern continued to attack, but Waikato doubled its lead late in the half.

Daniel Bocatias had just saved a penalty well, but on the next play down was forced to come out to the ball and Jonathan Tobias finished tidily past him.

Wisnewski got in on the action again early in the second half, passing in to his brother Logan Wisnewski, who made it 3-0.

Not long after Casey Sharpland pounced on a loose ball and it became 4-0 with just over 16 minutes to play.

At that point Southern hit back.

Adam Hewson scored virtually off the restart, before Ben O’Farrell made it two, scoring on the third attempt after Steele had denied Mike Sannum and Kasam Ali.

When Carlos Hermann delivered a classy back-heel pass to Sannum to take it to 4-3 with 10 minutes left, the comeback looked on.

But the Waikato defence dug in and Southern was unable to equalise.

In the final, Auckland City beat Waikato 2-0.

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