FOR Olympic, it was quite possibly a defining moment in their season, for United it was another case of what might have been as Olympic came from behind to win two goals to one.
Mirjan Pavlovic’s third minute header put the visiting side ahead, after he latched on to a set piece delivery by Ante Tomic.
United were hoping to atone for the defeat to Olympic in the Waratah Cup quarter final, but Olympic had other ideas, equalising through Dmitri Hatzimouratis immediately after kick off in the second half and then winning the match when Bradley Treloar lashed home a loose ball with 20′ minutes to go.
Olympic’s second half performance was superb and they pushed the ball around with pace and verve, with Evan Kostopoulos at the heart of everything; the only surprise was that he didn’t score.
Olympic was twice denied by the cross bar as they peppered Anthony Costa’s goal. The United keeper the injured Diego Barcena, but didn’t have a happy time of it and was culpable for the second goal.
It could have been so different for United.
The game was only 180 seconds old when the Reds were awarded a free kick on the right hand touchline.
Tomic swung it in, left footed, and Olympic’s defence went to sleep.
Pavlovic had the freedom of Belmore to place his header past Henderson and suddenly United were ahead. It was just the start they needed after some indifferent recent results.
Olympic should have drawn level with just 10′ minutes on the clock when Kostopoulos blazed over after Costa spilled a shot from the edge of the box into the path of the Olympic playmaker.
The home side began to make all the running and Harris Gaitatzis nearly equalised, but his curling shot came off the bar, midway through the first half.
United weren’t able to get a foothold in the match, with their midfield struggling to keep control of the ball. When they did threaten, Pavlovic showed skill and power, but was unable to provide any end product.
A shocking throw from Costa went straight to William Angel in the 36′ minute. He made it to the byline before crossing low to Kostopoulos, who stabbed his attempted finish wide.
United finally threatened again, when a free kick from the right nearly caught Henderson out, but the veteran gloveman recovered to palm the ball away.
There was one final chance in the first half and of course it fell to Kostopoulos, but he poked wide after a scramble in the United area.
They would have breathed a sigh of relief when Stephen Lucas blew his whistle for half time, but Mark Rudan would be furious that his side conceded so soon after the break.
Barely 60" seconds had been played when Dmitri Hatzimouratis, until then playing a quiet game, turned Nathan Sherlock inside and out on the left, before cutting inside and firing a low shot past Costa to draw the scores level.
It was a superb piece of incisive attacking play from Hatzimouratis, but Sherlock will be disappointed at a poor piece of one-on-one defending.
Kostopoulos had another chance shortly after the hour mark, but his shot was blocked by a combination of United’s defenders and Costa.
United flickered into life, but only ever-so-briefly.
Alec Urosevski popped up on the left, turning inside out the impressive Olympic right-back Brayden Sorge.
Urosevski crossed to the back post and it seemed certain that Glavas would score, but Henderson came out and made a fantastic claim to snuff out the opportunity.
The pressure tolled in the 70′ minute, when Costa made a mess of defending a set piece.
Eventually the ball fell to Kostopoulos who lobbed the ball towards the goal with Costa in no-mans-land. The ball dropped onto the cross bar and out to Treloar, who lashed the ball home with ferocity, sparking wild celebrations.
Rudan threw on Richard Darko for Glavas but the youngster had little impact as Olympic continued to press.
Costa made a sharp save late on to stop Kostopoulos scoring after great work by Taiga Soeda and Go Shirai on the counter-attack, but it mattered not, his good work was done.
Sydney Olympic 2 (Dmitri Hatzimouratis 46′, Bradley Treloar 70′)
Sydney United 58 1 (Mirjan Pavlovic 3′)
Sunday June 1, 2014
Belmore Sports Ground, Belmore
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling and Lee Corey
Fourth Official: Raphael Porret
Sydney Olympic: 1.Paul Henderson; 2.Brayden Sorge, 4.Brendan Hooper (33.Christopher Tomaras 54′), 5.Bradley Treloar, 7.William Angel, 9.Dmitri Hatzimouratis (8.Christopher Godoy-Bascur 89′), 10.Harris Gaitatzis, 14.Peter Markovic, 18.Taiga Soeda, 19.Go Shirai, 23.Evan Kostpoulos
Substitutes Not Used: 41.Nathan Polinsky, 30.Jason Madonis, 39.Michael Gaitatzis
Yellow Cards: William Angel 5′, Evan Kostopoulos 26′, Brayden Sorge 39′
Sydney United 58: 29.Anthony Costa; 4.Nathan Sherlock (18.Kaz Patafta 82′), 5.Anthony Tomelic (3.Jacob Esposito 65′), 6.Mitchell Stamatellis, 7.Mirjan Pavlovic, 8.Ante Tomic, 9.Alec Urosevski, 11.Luka Glavas (11.Richard Darko 71′), 14.Mitchell Speer, 16.Stjepan Paric, 20.Ibrahim Haydar
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Diego Barcena, 17.Theo Kofinas
Yellow Cards: Mitchell Stamatellis 90′
Red Cards: Nil
*Player Ratings have now been hidden with the official ‘Team of the Year’ to be announced after round 22 of the IGA NPL NSW Mens 1 competition
– By Matthew Lopez, National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 Editor, at Belmore Sports Ground