THE Sydney Rangers became the first team to win the men’s championship of the LGBTI Pride Football Australia tournament on home ground this weekend, beating Melbourne Rovers 2-1 at Leichhardt in the city’s inner west.

“The hoodoo has been broken,” declared Joseph Roppolo, Rangers President, on the Justin Fashanu Cup win on Saturday.

In the Julie Murray Cup, Sydney’s Flying Bats beat the Melbourne Rovers women’s side 5-0.

However, Roppolo said it wasn’t as one sided, as it might seem: “It was anything but easy and the Melbourne girls refused to get down and really made it hard for the Bats.”

The Rangers vs. men’s Rovers match was: “the most intense and physical game I’ve ever witnessed in the Justin Fashanu cup,” Roppolo said.

He singled out goalkeeper Nicholas Needs who “did two or three world class saves”.

Needs was awarded player of the match for the men’s tournament and Kirsty Warren, who scored a hat trick for the Bats, picked up the accolade for the women’s tournament.

More than 400 people are estimated to have attended the tournament which Roppolo said was a celebration of inclusiveness and a rejection of stereotypes.

The night ended at Sydney’s Midnight Shift bar with a football themed evening called Soccer Locker.

With the assistance of soccer’s governing body, Football Federation Australia, the organisers are hoping to encourage teams in Brisbane and Adelaide.

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