Cardiff University Futsal Club earned their place in the 2018 UEFA Futsal Cup with a winning goal from Chris Hugh in extra time at The Cardiff City House of Sport.
A tense and tactical final against the 2016/17 FAW Futsal League holders Wrexham Futsal Club the students from Cardiff University prevailed in the dying embers of extra time in almost a replica final to the previous year.
Wrexham Futsal Club started the final a lot sharper than Cardiff University and were in front in the sixth minute thanks to a clever finish from captain Naim Arsan in the 6th minute.
Wrexham were on top throughout the first half and threatened to extend their lead through efforts from Craig Pritchard and Jordan Davies but Cardiff University goal keeper Matthew Morris was in fine form and repelled the onslaught from Wrexham through a string of fine saves.
Against the run of play Wales Futsal International captain Chris Hugh broke clear and finished via a deflected right footed effort to draw the tie level in the 13th minute to ensure Cardiff University were level at half time.
The second half provided a similar pattern to the first with Wrexham Futsal Club on top and regaining a one goal advantage thanks to Connor Rogers’ superb close-range finish which the Cardiff University stopper for once couldn’t manage to keep out.
The remainder of the second half was played at a frenetic pace with end to end Futsal culminating in chances for both sides which weren’t taken. The trophy looked to be staying in Wrexham until the final stages until another one of Cardiff Universities experienced International players, Elliot Thomas, capitalised on some tired defending to draw level in the 34th minute.
The Final was heading to extra time for the second year running as the clock counted down into the last 10 seconds until Wrexham broke through one on one with Matthew Morris. The prolific Jordan Davies was once again thwarted by the excellent Cardiff University goalkeeper who tipped a goal bound effort around the post in what may have been a game changing moment.
The momentum swung in extra time and Cardiff University had their tails up looking to exploit a weary looking Wrexham.
The 2016/17 final required penalties to separate the two most decorated Welsh Futsal teams and the 2017/18 Final was heading the same way with the teams deadlocked at 2-2 going into the second period of extra time.
With 3 minutes to play in extra time captain Hugh went on a trademark run down the left flank and let fly with a powerful left footed shot across Owen Smith in the Wrexham goal which nestled into the far corner and gave Cardiff University the lead for the first time in the Final.
Wrexham threw everything at Cardiff University in the final stages and employed a fly goalkeeper to use the extra man in possession, however the Cardiff University defence remained resolute to win back the trophy they lost in last years Final and ensure European Futsal in the Summer of 2018.
Hugh’s brace was the difference between the two teams but Cardiff University will be thankful for Matthew Morris inspired performance in goal after making a string of important saves at crucial times in the 2017/18 FAW Futsal League Final.