SYDNEY Olympic secured their place in the IGA National Premier League NSW men’s 1 finals with an emphatic 2-1 victory over the Rockdale City Suns at Belmore Sports Ground.
The home side dominated the first half with former Melbourne Victory striker Dimitri Hatzimouratis opening the scoring, connecting to a Troy Danaskos cross.
Rockdale captain Askin Oygur equalised with an inch perfect header hitting the back of the net early in the second half.
But nobody could stop Hatzimouratis’ rocketing free kick midway through the second stanza which sees Olympic return to the finals series after missing out last season.
Sydney Olympic started the match on the front foot with great interlink play opening the Rockdale defence only for Arcaba to claim a soft shot from Troy Danaskos.
In-form Rockdale striker Nikola Taneski had a golden chance to open the scoring in the 7th minute when the ball deflected to his path and on goal but the youngster hooked his effort wide.
Eight minutes later Rockdale almost went down in embarrassing fashion when captain Askin Oygur headed the ball towards his own goal. Luckily for the Suns defender Takuya Murayama cleared off the line to keep the scores level.
Olympic kept the pressure on their opponents and almost caught their defence flat footed in the 20th minute with Danaskos feeding Harris Gaitatzis through with a long ball but Tomislav Arcaba came off his line well to claim the ball.
The home team’s patience paid off when they took the lead just three minutes later with Danaskos’ cross was met by Dimitri Hatzimouratis who calmly slotted the ball past Arcaba and into the bottom left hand corner.
The Suns looked rattled after the goal as Olympic continued to open them up out wide.
In the 29th minute Danaskos was at it again with a perfectly weighted cross to a free Harris Gaitatzis but the midfielder could not control his shot as the ball went sailing well over the bar.
Rockdale slowly got more possession in the back end of the first half led by influential midfielder Paul Reid.
Marko Jesic took it upon himself to try and get the Suns back into the game in the 40th minute with a strong half volley on the edge of the box forcing Paul Henderson into a smart save tipping the ball over the bar.
Sydney Olympic came out from the break intent to keep possession of the ball before opening up the Rockdale defence.
They did just that in the 49th minute with Michael Gaitatzis seeing his shot blocked by Murayama before Taiga Soeda’s follow up shot went wide of the left hand upright.
The missed chance came back to haunt the home side three minutes later when Rockdale equalised. Captain Askin Oygur rose well for a corner to head the ball into the back of the net and bring his side right back into the match.
Former Western Sydney Wanderers winger Tadj Minniecon bamboozled the Olympic defence in the 59th minute, finding space on the right before cutting back to Reid who laid back to Idriss El Hafiane whose shot went way over the bar.
The match completely opened up in the 65th minute when Dimitri Hatzimouratis’ pile driving free kick from 25 yards out rocketed past the wall and into the net to give the home side the 2-1 lead.
Both sides started going for it with Oygur again rising well for a corner in the 71st minute only to find the safe hands of Henderson.
Taneski stepped up to fire a great free kick goalward in the 77th minute but Henderson got down well to get hold of the ball.
With six minutes remaining Suns substitute Toufic Alameddine found space inside the Olympic box but hit his shot over the bar.
Hatzimouratis was unlucky to not have his hat trick in the 88th minute after putting the ball into the back of the net, only to be called back for being offside.
Rockdale continued to put the pressure on Olympic with Marko Jesic firing over the bar from a free kick in the 91st minute.
But the match belonged to Olympic with the former National Soccer League side sending a strong message to the rest of the competition.
Sydney Olympic 2 (Dimitri Hatzimouratis 23’, 65’)
Rockdale City Suns 1 (Askin Oygur 52’)
Sunday August 10, 2014
Belmore Sports Ground, Belmore
Referee: Chris Young
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling and Andrej Giev
Fourth Official: James Tesoriero
Sydney Olympic: 1.Paul Henderson, 2.Brayden Sorge, 3.Troy Danaskos, 6.Ryan Keir, 9.Dimitri Hatzimouratis, 10.Harris Gaitatzis (7.William Angel 68’), 14.Peter Markovic, 15.Yianni Spyrakis, 18.Taiga Soeda, 19.Go Shirai, 39.Michael Gaitatzis (33.Chris Tomaras 79’)
Substitutions not used: 4.Brendan Hooper, 5.Bradley Treloar
Yellow cards: Yianni Spyrakis 76’
Red cards: Nil
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Tomislav Arcaba, 3.Steven Hesketh, 4.Sean Symons (7.Toufic Alameddine 68’), 5.Paul Reid (21.Hristian Tanoski 76’), 6.Takuya Murayama, 8.Paul Kohler, 10.Tahj MInniecon (2.Andrija Petkovic 76’), 11.Nikola Taneski, 12.Idriss El Hafiane, 18.Marko Jesic, 23.Askin Oygur
Substitutions not used: 22.David Bradasevic,, 14.Patrick Savor
Yellow cards: Paul Kohler 64’, Steven Hesketh 80’
Red cards: Nil
– by Chris Georges, National Premier Leagues Reporter, at Belmore Sports Ground