Sudakas FC – 5, Universal Language – 4
Fraser Park, July 29 2018
Sudakas FC celebrated its first Wellington Sunday Football League Division One title, winning 5-4 in an intense clash with wildcard team Universal Language.
Universal had gone ahead four minutes into the game as Taban Makoii struck home the first goal. Sudakas replied swiftly, with Bryan Diaz and Carlos Murillo breaking through the defence. Diaz drew the defence and Murrillo levelled the score.
Both teams continued to threaten and Sudakas weren’t celebrating for long before Makoii and the speedy Taeh Hser linked up to cause problems for the defence. Dogged attack led to a free kick from just outside the penalty area, which somehow found its way to Paul Owaci in the middle of a cluster of Sudakas Players. Owaci spun and struck the ball into the top right corner to put Universal ahead once more and bring the score to 2-1.
Fingertip saves, near-misses and clearances from the goal line made for an exciting end to the half. Universal was unlucky not to go further ahead as a loose ball was chipped over the goal by a defender, while Sudakas had several chances saved by narrow margins.
The second half saw Sudakas’ striker Hector Mina enter the fray, making an impact almost instantly with power and pace on offence. The next goal came as Mina sped up the middle of the pitch, beating everyone but the keeper. The fingertip save was recovered by Diaz on the goal line, and he made no mistake putting it into the back of the net to bring the scores level at 2-2.
Universal Language had entered Division One at the season’s halfway point. Communication between the players dropped off after a change of formation, and they seemed to lose cohesion as the half drew on. Mina’s runs created uncertainty among Universal’s defenders and the composed attacks that had been a feature of the team’s first half fell away in the face of determined Sudakas’ defence marshalled by captain Sebastián Cabeza and Nacho de Maio.
Sudakas went in front 3-2 as Diaz stroked another goal past the keeper. Then David Silva struck twice in quick succession, chipping the ball over the keeper at short range for his first goal, then rounding the defenders to hammer home Sudakas’ fifth goal of the match.
Despite the slew of goals, Universal somehow found composure. The team’s defenders and midfield worked the ball upfield with skilful short passes, Hser showed dangerous pace on the left wing once more, and veteran Tony Morrison used his experience to hold up the ball on attack, winning free kicks in dangerous positions. Sustained pressure saw Owaci strike a well-timed ball from the edge of the box to bring the score to 5-3 and get Universal back into the game.
Sudakas was put under further pressure when Murrillo was sent from the field following a late tackle and a second yellow card. More free kicks followed, and Hser brought the score to 5-4 with a looping shot to the top right corner of the goal that even a punch from the keeper couldn’t stop.
With just minutes to play, anything looked possible. Universal played hard, but Sudakas’ players had belief on their side. They closed out the game, winning 5-4 to remain undefeated so far this season and secure the Wellington Sunday Football League Division One league title with one match to play.
Makoii congratulated Sudakas on the win. He said his team had played hard but was still finding its feet after joining the competition as a wildcard entry just five games prior.
“It was a good game. If we had kept our positions, I think we had a real chance.”
Cabeza said the game had been a must-win to shut out second-placed North Wellington, who were ahead on goal difference. He said winning the league was a fantastic achievement and congratulated his team.
“It’s amazing. Just three years ago, we started off in Division Three. Now we have played our way up to become Division One champions.”
Sudakas FC is made up of players of South American heritage, including Colombian refugees. The team also has its sights set on the Sunday Football League Cup and will take on Sunday Blazers in the semi-finals next week.
Universal Language is made up of players with African football heritage named for the ability of football to cross linguistic and cultural barriers. It is currently organised by SportZone as an avenue for more people in the community to play football.
Thirty-six teams are competing in this year’s Wellington Sunday Football League, a community based 11-a-side league that was founded over 40 years ago and is growing year-on-year. A full table of results and fixtures can be found at https://tinyurl.com/WSFL2018.
Next week’s action (5 August)
Next week’s competition will see the Cup and Plate finals.
Sudakas FC will take on Sunday Blazers in the Cup semi-finals, while the other final will be played between North Wellington and Lazy 11.
The Plate finals are running as a separate competition this year. The competition enters the quarter-finals, with Valley FC Trust taking on Inter Galactic FC, HHH United taking on Universe, Terrace-Nadi going up against Fireraiders and Los Blazeros contesting the fourth quarter final match against Fireraiders.
Summer football registrations open
The Wellington Sunday Football League summer season starts in October, and registrations are now open. Teams can register at http://www.getyourgameon.co.nz/wellington-sunday-football-league.
Watch: Sudakas FC celebrates first Wellington Sunday Football League title
Watch: Goals from Paul Owaci and Taeh Hser
Watch: Near misses from Hector Mina
Categories: Wellington Sunday Football League
I alternate between club, indoor and street football. I'm keen on the social game and have been known to bother urban Wellington by playing street football at night. I usually play keeper or wing back, and I'm enough of a geek to enjoy football manager games.