The University of Nottingham (UoN) men’s futsal team beat Nottingham Trent Universty (NTU) 2-1 on penalties, after a 6-6 draw, to seal the 2016 Varsity Series win for the University of Nottingham.
After the narrow women’s defeat in the futsal, the onus was now on the men’s team to complete the series win, and the game got off to the worst possible start for the men in green, as they were behind after just two minutes.
“UoN looked very comfortable on the ball, and their second goal was a team goal of the highest quality”
UoN equalised a minute later however, as the men’s game was shown to be a much more open game in the opening stages than the women’s game, despite UoN being set up to be compact at the back.
UoN had to soak up a lot of Trent pressure after their equaliser however, and more than once, goalkeeper Sayantan Chowdhury was called into action to deny Trent.
UoN looked very comfortable on the ball, and their second goal was a team goal of the highest quality, with some great pass-and-move football ending with a ball squared across the box for a tap-in.
A cynical Trent challenge earned the first yellow of the game, just as UoN were racing forward, but it was Trent who scored next, after an audacious overhead kick was deflected in off of a UoN defender.
The game remained 2-2 until half-time, with both sides having chances to add to their total, and both sets of keepers making good saves to ensure that they did not.
The second half, itself a much more open affair than the first half, burst into life almost immediately, with UoN grabbing their first goal after a Nick Pritchard cross was turned in by a Trent defender.
“When UoN extended their lead with 8 minutes to go, however, it looked as if there was no way back for Trent”
UoN were very organised at the back, and as Trent looked to break them down, it was clear that they were often leaving themselves exposed at the back, and UoN took full advantage of this as captain Moe Elmaghrbi beat his man to the by-line, and his crossed was scrambled in to give UoN a two-goal advantage.
Trent hit back almost immediately, however, as the game started to heat up on the pitch, with both teams aware of the importance of the match.
When UoN extended their lead with 8 minutes to go, however, it looked as if there was no way back for Trent; despite grabbing a goal back, the gaps left open at the back were exposed again, as UoN made it 6-4 with 5 minutes to go.
Trent decided to bring their keeper up from this point, and the tactic paid dividends as he played a lovely ball into the box for Trent to pull a goal back, and suddenly the pressure was right back onto UoN again.
With a minute to go, Trent equalised, sending their supporters into complete raptures, with the game seemingly now destine for penalties.
However, UoN still could have won the game right at the death, as a one-on-one was saved by the Trent keeper when it really should have been scored by UoN.
With the end of normal time came penalties, with a best-of-three shoot-out, and it was UoN who were up first; when their first penalty was saved, and Trent scored their first, UoN had it all to do.
UoN’s next penalty was scored, and when Trent missed their second, suddenly UoN had the initiative again. They scored their third and final penalty, and the exuberant celebrations lead to a scuffle on the pitch between opposing players, with James Bramley having to play peacemaker.
Trent, under huge pressure, missed their final penalty, sending the UoN players and fans into raptures, as the 2016 Varsity Series was secured for the green and gold, with three events to spare.
UoN Men’s Team Roster:
Moe Elmaghrbi ©
Words by Connor Higgs
Images: Connor Higgs
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