Manchester’s workman-like performance against Baku United wasn’t enough as the FA National Futsal League North champions eventually succumbed to an 8-2 defeat at Powerleague, Trafford.
The English champions once again proved too hot to handle as their emphatic ball retention and movement dismantled MFC, who raced into an early lead.
Roger Solvas broke clear and opted to unselfishly square the ball to Stuart Cook who calmly slotted home past Alcides Da Silva with just three minutes gone.
It was a frantic opening period, with chances flowing thick and fast at both ends of the court: Carlos Munoz flashed a shot wide for the visitors, while Cook dragged a shot past the post after a trademark mesmeric dribble.
But it wasn’t long before Baku found the equaliser, and it came from a well-drilled corner routine. The ball eventually fell to Kenedy Ofong who slotted it through the legs of Jordan Parker from close range.
Jonathan Camara then hit the post as the visitors began to hit their stride before Ofong bagged his second after Sergio Llorente lost possession in his own half.
England goalkeeper Parker pulled off a string of fine saves to Deny Munoz and Camara before Baku delivered a sucker punch on the stroke of half-time when Jose Lozano fired him to make it 3-1.
If Manchester made a perfect start to the first half, by comparison the opening minutes of the second half were a complete disaster. Two goals in three minutes from Lozano and Camara left MFC with a mountain to climb, before Ofong bagged his hat-trick with some neat footwork to round Parker and slot home.
An own goal from Roberto Tobe, following a strong run from Ed Bryers, gave the hosts consolation heading into the final ten minutes, but Baku still had time to add another two to their tally through Fabricio Santos and Munoz to round off a comfortable victory.
Manchester are still in pole position to qualify from Group ‘3’, but must avoid defeat at Bristol City on 15 March to ensure their progress to the Finals.
Written by @ChrisWildgoose