Rockdale City Suns scored an emphatic 4-0 defeat of Sydney Olympic at Belmore Sports Ground on Saturday night, sending a massive warning to the rest of the competition following the Round 8 encounter.
Played at a phenomenal pace, on a rather chilly evening, the Richard Cardozo inspired Suns were ruthless as the striker grabbed himself a hat-trick following Seiya Kawamura’s go-ahead goal midway through the first-half.
Peter Tsekenis started with the same eleven fielded in the romp against Manly United FC last weekend with Luke Grima playing off striker Elsid Barkhousir, though the Blues’ boss had the tough decision of fielding both Brett Studman and captain Phil Makrys, both players unable to train during the week due to injury – a move that certainly did effect the side on the night.
Branko Culina responded for the Suns with a novelty in the midfield holding role. Youngster Roberto Speranza was given the nod with both Paul Reid and captain Sash Tirovski out of the clash, a move which paid dividends, despite the youngster limping off with an ankle injury in the second-half.
It was the home side that carved out the first assault on goal in only the 2’ minute of play, with Suns’ midfielder Brendan Gan causing his side a scare as his attempted clearance of a Phil Makrys free-kick forced his own goalkeeper to get down quickly and parry the ball behind for a corner.
The Blues maintained the pressure with William Angel using his pace down the left, meanwhile Makrys was a constant menace with his trusted right boot on set-pieces; attempting a shot on goal with an in-swinging corner from the left.
Gan made amends for his earlier error with a fabulous counterattack on 6’ minutes. The Suns midfielder, who was well assisted by Roberto Speranza in the middle of the park, played a stupendous through ball to Alec Urosevski who immediately released Anthony Perri on goal. Perri, with a clear sight of goal, attempted a violent left foot diagonal effort, only just sending his effort wide of Paul Henderson’s upright.
In the 9’ minute, the home side very nearly found the opener. Another perfectly executed Makrys free-kick picked out the head of Studman – the burly central defender saw his looping header ricochet off the top of the crossbar, much to the despair of the home supporters.
The Suns reminded Sydney Olympic just how dangerous they can be when Urosevski won the ball deep in the Blues’ half on 14’ minutes. Gan, after receiving a clever short ball from Roberto Speranza, was the orchestrator, playing a well-measured pass into the path of Kawamura who forced Henderson into a fine save down low.
Richard Cardozo piled on further pressure for the Suns with a mazy run past two Blues’ defenders moments later, the forward foray cut short when Perri’s attempted lob failed to pick the run of a teammate.
In the 20’ minute the home side should have taken the lead following some great build up play by Kingsley Williams and Petar Markovic down the right. The latter’s centre into the penalty-area was well nodded down by Angel at the back post, however Elsid Barkhousir, somewhat uncharacteristically, dwelled on the ball for a second too long as Askin Oygur & Co. thwarted the chance with a strong clearance.
The missed opportunity saw the Suns immediately get down the other end with an opening of their own, however once more the chance went begging as Cardozo failed to pick out a free Kawamura at the back post after creating a yard of space on the right-side of the penalty-area.
Roberto Speranza showed his vast array of talents with a fabulous switch of play from deep shortly after, picking out Kawamura with pin-point accuracy before the Suns carved out perhaps their best chance of the opening period of play.
Marton Vass, unexpectedly, lost the ball in the middle of the park, releasing Urosevski through on goal. With the defence retreating, and Cardozo to the striker’s left, Urosevski hit a very tame effort directly at Henderson who made a routine save to thwart the attempt.
The Suns took the lead following a very positive period of play via a corner from the right. Cardozo’s in-swinging attempt picked out the head of Kawamura – the left sided winger deservedly found the back of the net for his first-half efforts with a strong header past Henderson.
The goal seemed to deflate the Blues somewhat as the normally reliable midfield department turned over a number of balls in the period that followed; on 35’ minutes, the side conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position that saw Cardozo send his attempt inches wide of Henderson’s left-hand post.
Despite the momentum with the visitors, a sensational solo effort by Williams for the home side very nearly got the Blues back on level terms in the 39’ minute. The skillful midfielder weaved his way past three defenders on the right flank before cutting the ball onto his left foot and forcing Diego Barcena into a save.
Back at the other end, the Suns deservedly doubled their lead in first-half injury-time with a fabulous turnover in the middle of the park. Once again, Roberto Speranza was ruthless in collecting the ball and immediately threading a defence splitting pass in behind the backline for Cardozo. The experienced striker was uncompromising with a low-driven shot finishing between Henderson and his near post for a two-goal lead at the interval.
Following the re-start the home side was immediately on the front-foot in search of a goal to re-open the encounter. Angel was brilliant inside the opening 30’’ seconds down the left as he dribbled his way past two markers before cutting in onto his right foot and forcing Barcena into a save.
Angel had another chance moments later down the left, though the winger’s low-driven cross into the penalty-area was easily wiped up by the Suns defenders.
With the Suns looking to remain compact, the initiative was all with Sydney Olympic as Troy Danaskos created a yard of space, just outside the penalty-area, before shooting over the crossbar.
Angel again used his pace to threaten for the Blues down the left on the hour, though again the retreating Suns defenders were up to the task of annulling another Sydney Olympic attack.
The Suns, marshalled perfectly by Oygur and Paul Kohler across the backline, showed just how capable the side can be this season with a very well structured playing group, remaining compact when under pressure, though so good at playing out through the midfield to turn defence into attack.
Despite the Blues best efforts in the front-third it was Rockdale City that further extended the lead just after the hour. A fine turn by Urosevski inside the penalty-area was too much for his marker as Danaskos brought down the striker underneath the watchful eye referee Ryan Shepheard. Cardozo, the Suns’ designated penalty taker, was calmness personified as he coolly slotted the ball into the back of the net, sending Henderson the wrong way in the process.
As was the case in the opening period, the goal somewhat deflated the Blues and the Suns again regained the ascendency with some great ball possession in midfield.
The Suns standout midfield performer Roberto Speranza limped off shortly after the third goal, the Rockdale City number 20 most definitely added a further selection dilemma for coach Branko Culina after the nights showing.
On 75’ minutes, Cardozo went close to adding his personal third goal for the evening with another fine free-kick. The striker’s left peg bent the ball over the wall brilliantly, though only just sent his attempt inches wide of goal.
Kawamura should have wrapped proceedings up in the 79’ minute when he found himself free inside the penalty-area. Despite a slight slip, Kawamura still managed to get a shot on goal, blasting his effort over the crossbar from very promising range.
At the other end, Barcena was forced into a save down to his left – and a great save at that – to deny Danaskos what seemed a certain goal. The Blues defender hit a left-foot drive from the edge of the penalty-area, though the strong palm of the shot-stopper was enough to keep the Suns’ lead at three.
Barcena was at it again 6’ minutes from the end, denying substitute Amaury Gauthier in a one-on-one situation. The shot-stopper stood tall and closed the angle well, as the Blues supporters started to head for the exits.
Cardozo wasn’t to be denied his third of the night in the 87’ minute when he drilled the ball home from one-metre out, it was his eighth goal of the season. Some fine work by Tom Gollins down the left – Gollins replaced Roberto Speranza just after the hour mark – saw the number 2 play a cross into the danger area where Henderson made a point-blank range on the first attempt, though the rebound fell into the path of Cardozo who made no mistake. It was a memorable game for the striker who first made his name at the Blues, which ironically was also the club his brother Pablo, starred in for a number of years as one of the team’s leading strikers.
Another Suns substitute, Husseyin Jasli, very nearly added a fifth for the side in injury-time, denied by a fabulous save by Henderson after the speedy winger got in behind the defence and had a real sniff at goal.
Rockdale City Suns captain Askin Oygur was very pleased with his team’s achievements against one of the competition’s title contenders:
“A lot of hard work and discipline from all of the boys tonight, and from the first pre-season sessions, that is what I put this great result to tonight,” explained Oygur following the referee’s final whistle.
“Everyone has really started to understand the football we want to play, keeping in mind we have a number of new players this season, and I really see that all the players are now understanding each other so much better, so that is why we are starting to get things right.
“Previously we have struggled to score goals, in recent seasons, though this season we have Richard Cardozo who tonight was brilliant, Seiya (Kawamura), Alec Urosevski, so we have a number of goal scorers available.
“Our objective is to continue improving, and I think that we can really make a big challenge for a successful season,” ended Oygur.
Sydney Olympic assistant coach Peter Papoythis was a dejected figure following the match:
“The match didn’t start well for us, I guess, with our preparation during the week. We had Hendo (Paul Hederson) away and Phil (Makrys) and Studman not training all week, so obviously this did not help us for the match, that is for sure,” commented Papoythis.
“It has been tough, though in saying that Rockdale City were fantastic today, their transition from defence into attack was brilliant and I would say they are the best side we have played in the competition so far – by far the better team on the night.
“We play South Coast Wolves next weekend – there are no easy matches in this competition. The table may say that they are struggling, though we played them in the pre-season cup and I can tell you that their placing on the ladder at the moment does not do the team any justice, they are a very capable side.
“In this competition, there are no easy games, if you turn up without your top game you get belted and that is what happened to us tonight,” concluded Papoythis.
Sydney Olympic 0
Rockdale City Suns 4 (Seiya Kawamura 29’, Richard Cardozo 45’+2’, 61’ (pen), 87’ )
Saturday 4th May, 2013
Belmore Sports Ground
Referee: Ryan Shepheard
Assistant Referees: Andrej Giev and Thomas Lee
Fourth Official: Mitchell Clark
Sydney Olympic: 1.Paul Henderson; 3.Brett Studman (24.Brendan Hooper 46’), 4.Ibrahim Haydar, 6.Marton Vass (15.Zak Elrich 69’), 7.Phil Makrys (C), 8.Kingsley Williams, 9.Luke Grima (22.Amaury Gauthier 46’), 11.William Angel, 12.Troy Danaskos, 14.Petar Markovic, 16.Elsid Barkhousir
Substitutes Not Used:
Yellow Cards: Brendan Hooper 55’, Ibrahim Haydar 60’
Red Cards: Nil
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Diego Barcena; 5.Brendan Gan, 6.Takuya Murayama, 8.Paul Kohler, 9.Alec Urosevski (15.Max Burgess 84’), 10.Richard Cardozo, 13.Sam Munro, 16.Anthony Perri, 18.Seiya Kawamura (12.Husseyin Jasli 87’), 20. Roberto Speranza (2. Tom Gollins 63′), 23.Askin Oygur (C)
Substitutes Not Used: 22.Aaron Liddell, 3.Giorgio Speranza
Yellow Cards: Seiya Kawamura 56’, Husseyin Jasli 90’+1’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Richard Cardozo (RCS)
2 – Seiya Kawamura (RCS)
1 – Roberto Speranza (RCS)
-By Joseph Carlucci