Southern side claims national futsal title

Southern United has locked away its first trophy of the season.

It claimed the national futsal league title yesterday, beating Northern 4-3 in the final in Auckland.

After going down 1-0 in the sixth minute, it hit back with three first-half goals, before scoring a fourth early in the second half.

Northern came back strongly and scored two late goals, but Southern was able to hold it out.

Earlier a Kasam Ali goal with 25 seconds left gave Southern a 2-1 lead, and eventually a win, against Auckland in the semifinal.It was the key moment in the weekend, having earlier done enough to finish third on the table and qualify for the top four.

"It was massive," Southern coach Darren Hart said.

"Auckland had a lot more players, they were at home, they were going to be fresher than we were.

"If we had 10 minutes of extra time and then penalties and even if we got over that, just having less time to recover and play [Northern] anyway, it was going to be huge drain on us.

"So nicking one with 25 seconds to go was a pretty happy way of jumping through."

He said the team was happy to finally get the job done, having gone close in recent years.

That included last season, in which it was completely dominant until  tripping up in the semifinals.

This year it had gained momentum towards the end, which he felt had been key.

After a poor tournament in Christchurch, it had bounced back with three wins from four games two weeks ago in Wellington.

It carried that through and he felt that was key in the team giving everything it had to claim the title.

"It’s nice to get it done; we’ve had a final and a semi and a semi loss in the last three years.

"So we’ve always been there and thereabouts in that chasing pack, so it’s nice to finally get one over the line."

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