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Monday 21 May 2018
Belfast team turn on the power and style in cup decider in Newry

Sparta Belfast turned league form on its head to become the inaugural winners of the Northern Ireland Futsal Cup.

The Belfast outfit swept aside Banbridge Town in the final at Newry Leisure Centre with a power-packed display.

It was expected to be a tight affair with Banbridge, who currently lie second in the Northern Ireland Futsal League, going head to head against a team a place behind them in the standings.

However, Sparta Belfast had other ideas and ran out worthy winners of the cup following a blistering and astute performance. They won the game 8-1.

Banbridge were actually first to get on the scoresheet in Newry when their captain James Gould poked the ball beyond Sparta keeper Octavian.

Sparta responded within minutes when Artur Kopyt blasted a half volley from the edge of the area beyond Rosbotham in the Banbridge goal.  

The Belfast side then soaked up some pressure before launching a series of counter attacks, and Rosbotham made several excellent saves to keep the scores level.

However, their counter attacking strategy eventually paid off for Sparta and they went into the break 4-1 ahead. Balnanosis scored his first of the game and Chambaud scored a brace as Sparta took advantage of Banbridge leaving their goal vacated and punished them for their bold attacking approach.

In the second half Banbridge continued to fly their goalkeeper in an attempt to get back into the game. They dominated possession but Sparta showed great discipline and concentration as they repelled each Banbridge attack.  

Sparta turned on the power again and grabbed a further four goals in the second half. Kazlauskas got one, while Balnanosis completed his hat-trick. There was also a Banbridge own goal.  

The final buzzer sounded with Sparta running out 8-1 winners and worthy first time Northern Ireland Futsal Cup champions.

After the match Banbridge Town coach Garth Smith was gracious in defeat. He said: “Congratulations to Sparta Belfast on their Northern Ireland Futsal Cup triumph. They are a team that have trained hard all season and in Darius they possess such a hard-working and dedicated coach. They thoroughly deserved their victory as we struggled to cope with their intensity.”

Sparta Belfast coach Darius Dielininikaitis praised the youthful Banbridge team and their coach for playing their part in an exciting and entertaining final.

He added: “Winning the cup is a great feeling for me and the whole team. It is proof of the work that the group has put in this season and we are very honoured to be part of futsal history in this country. This victory will give us more confidence and a willingness to progress for next season.”

You can see a gallery of images from the final below.