Feb. 1 – Men at the National Indoor Finals


The Men’s first match against Sport Club was always going to be crucial to Sunday’s play-offs, so it was galling to be beaten by a dubious penalty. A tight first half ended without either side able to score, but 4 minutes in, Philipp Wenzel took the ball off a defender, rounded the keeper and squared the ball for João Miguel Freitas to open the scoring. Within 10 minutes Sport had taken a 2-1 lead from two penalty corners, but a great pass from Nicolas Wenzel let in his brother Philipp to make it 2-2. On balance a draw would have been a fair result but, with 50 seconds to go, Sport converted a frankly erroneous penalty stroke for a 3-2 win. In their evening match Casuals took on a strong Carris team, and were 0-7 down at the interval. Although they were always going to struggle against the eventual National Champions, a much closer second half saw them score 3 goals through João Ralha, João Miguel and Nicolas with a lovely lob over the keeper.

The 9am start on the Sunday for their last group match against Juventude did not seem to suit the Casuals, and they ended the first half 2-3 down, despite Miguel Ralha scoring twice to add to his impressive midfield work. Three minutes after the break, Philipp intercepted just inside the opposition half to take the ball past the last defender and the keeper for a tremendous equaliser. Miguel scored from a penalty corner for the Casuals to take the lead but, when a nasty head injury sidelined João Miguel, the team could have lost their focus: instead, 2 more goals from Miguel and 1 from Hugo Jesus sealed a great 7-4 win.

The play-off game against Lamas was a very tight and evenly contested match. At the interval only 2 penalty corner conversions by Lamas separated the teams. After half an hour Joe Kodde, whose defending throughout the weekend had been tremendous, finally pulled one back with a clever tip-in at a penalty corner. But, in pushing for the equaliser, Casuals left themselves open to the 3rd Lamas goal which sealed a 1-3 defeat. Their final placing of 6th out of 8 does perhaps not do justice to the progress in their indoor game that this young Men’s team has shown over the last 2 weekends under João Miguel’s leadership.

Tony Pringsheim