YOOGALI Football Club has bounced back from a dismal display at the Real Juice Cup to reclaim the coveted Musitano Cup with a 2-1 away win over Hanwood FC yesterday.
First-half goals from Aaron Sergi and new Fijian import Malaka Tiwa were enough to seal victory over a lacklustre Hanwood - one that has restored confidence at the club on the eve of the GDFA season opener against Hanwood Juniors.
"We've been training for three months now. Everyone's itching to play for real points," YFC's Rocky Marando said.
"This is a good start, but now we want to play for competitive points and start the season off. It's been too long.
"That was the first time we've had most of the squad together and it was really good - a great result.
"The Musitano Cup helps make it a bit sweeter - we haven't won it for a few years so it's good to get a piece of silverware at the start of the season."
Playing under new director of coaching Peter Jennings for the first time in a full-length, 11-a-side match, Yoogali FC took the lead after approximately 25 minutes when Sergi stroked home the opener with his weaker right foot, having latched onto a good through ball from the back. Tiwa doubled the lead soon after, heading in a cross that was saved by HFC custodian Adam Reid but still trickled over the line thanks to some wicked backspin.
That made it 2-0 at half-time but Hanwood rallied at the start of the second half, pegging one back from the penalty spot through English import Matt Fearon.
Hanwood's Andrew Quarisa was brought down in the box and Fearon kept his cool to convert the dot shot - but that was all the home side could muster.
"Our fitness, we dropped off and they really dominated us a lot with possession. But we just held on to the end for a gritty result," Marando said.
"We've been working on a few things at training and the Fijian boys help.
"They've just got class. They don't give the ball away as much as us local boys do, they don't get tired.
"Obviously they were an influence but we've been working hard and that was really our first competitive game of the season.
"Everyone's ecstatic. We're pretty happy."
Rounding out a good afternoon for YFC, the club's reserve-grade outfit won on penalties after coming back from 2-0 down to draw level with Hanwood.
"To have the fighting spirit to come back and win on penalties was brilliant," Marando said.
"First-grade was a continuation from that. As a club in general, it's a big result."
HFC, however, won the under 18s encounter convincingly, claiming a 4-0 victory.