YOOGALI Football Club staged an upset win over stablemate Yoogali Soccer Club yesterday afternoon, booking a grand final berth against Hanwood Football Club.
Minor premiers and reigning champions Yoogali Soccer Club (YSC) were undone by Yoogali Football Club's (YFC) high press and intense energy and physicality, stifling stars like Derek McKechnie, Joe Preece and Mitch Bagiante.
Yoogali FC's Ura Loki scored an innocuous goal in the third minute to open the account, by toeing in a loose ball in the box.
Yoogali SC's Mitch Bagiante would have equalised in what was a thrilling first 10 minutes, if not for brilliant keeping by John Ralula, who advanced to deflect a dangerous ball and then saved a firm strike while tracking back towards goal.
Yoogali SC's equaliser came courtesy of Andrew Vitucci, who stopped a cross dead with his first touch before pulling the trigger and firing the ball into the top right of the net.
Fijian import Loki had a chance to bag his double, only needing to guide home a lofted cross from teammate Mulla Tina into an open goal, but the awkward height of the pass proved too much to handle and the sides went to the break locked at 1-1.
Yoogali SC got ahead for the first time in the match courtesy of Asa Nicholson, who showed brilliant foresight to come from the clouds when the ball spilt free of a tackle contest in the box.
Yoogali SC's brief lead was dashed in extraordinary fashion when YFC's Mulla Tina latched on to a half-volley from 25 metres out, with enough left-to-right curve to evade keeper Michael DePoali at full stretch.
The next two goals were claimed by YFC coach Rocky Marando's brother Ross, who minutes before bagging his first had shouted to the sideline instructions not to take him off.
Marando's first goal was a tap-in, having collided with the keeper in a footrace and had the deflection go his way, the second was another close-range shot at the back post.
YFC coach Rocky Marando said it was a thrill to reverse the usual order and claim honours over the club's stablemate.
"YSC are the minor premiers, undefeated this season and one of the best teams in the competition," Marando said.
"We've had a lot of things go against us this year and it's just good to finally get a win over the old rivals.
"I think our heart was the difference today, we've been losing to this side quite a lot in the last couple of seasons and we are big rivals, but our heart and determination shone through."
Marando made it clear to his players before the match that they had to stifle a skillful opposition if they were to stage an upset.
"We made it a point to try and press them up the park and stop them from having time on the ball, because when they have time on the ball they're a class outfit.
"We tried to keep as much possession as we could and that worked for us."