SYDNEY Olympic and Marconi Stallions were finally able to face each other after the heavy rain which hit Sydney this week, facing off at Football NSW headquarters on the beautiful artificial surface at Valentine Sports Park.
It was an encounter certainly worth waiting for on a very cold Sunday evening, as Sydney Olympic thrashed Marconi Stallions 5-1.
The two former NSL heavyweights didn’t disappoint in an encounter where both sides played themselves to a standstill. It was royal blue outfits versus sky blue outfits at each other hammer and tongs.
In the end, Sydney Olympic prevailed to take all three points in what was effectively a home game for the Belmore-based side even though they had travelled to the other side of town to get the result.
In the third minute an accurate cross from the right reached Harris Gaitatzis in an excellent position but he just missed the target with his volley from close range.
In the 8th minute, from a corner, Scott Balderson received a high ball and then when he brought it under control found his shot spearing into the side netting.
Then, in the 12th minute, a stunning shot from Christopher Nunes from just outside the box brought out the best in Olympic goalkeeper Daniel Sadaka, who was chosen with Paul Henderson rested on the bench. Sadaka brilliantly dived and turned the ball away for a corner. It was Marconi’s opening chance of the game in which action had flowed from end-to-end.
Taiga Soeda then tried his luck from outside the box with a powerful drive that was well saved by the Marconi custodian Sam Nastic, but Olympic didn’t have to wait too long as they scored two goals in a minute to break Marconi’s heart.
In the 23rd minute the scoreboard was called into action when a move started down the left hand flank was swept across to the right. It was a Will Angel cross that eventually found Harris Gaitatzis who, unmarked, then proceeded to find the back of the net.
The game had barely resumed when Sydney Olympic once again struck gold. Charging downfield this time himself, Angel fired in a powerful diagonal shot which beat the outstretched Nastic and went in off the post.
Marconi were down but not out and in the 35th minute it was Jacob Ott who flicked the ball into the back of the net after receiving a nice cross from Mitchell Thompson, to breath life into the encounter.
The goal was really what Marconi had deserved because while Sydney Olympic were on top, they were by no means a two-goal better team at that stage of the encounter.
In the 43rd minute Robbie Shields dribbled past some opponents in the middle of the park and fired in a shot that was well taken by the Sydney Olympic custodian Sadaka, and at the other end Soeda unleashed a pile driver which Nastic did very well to block.
However, right on the stroke of halftime referee Khodr Yaghi adjudicated that Tomislav Mijic had handled the ball in the area and awarded a spot kick to Sydney Olympic. Up stepped Harris Gaitatzis who made no mistake and Sydney Olympic restored their two-goal lead with the last kick of the first stanza of play. It was a cruel blow for the Stallions and reminiscent of the previous round when late first half goals let them down against the Blacktown Spartans.
In the second half both teams started off more cautiously and play was tight. And while it was definitely no midfield battle, neither goalkeeper appeared to be in too trouble until the 60th minute when Sydney Olympic scored their fourth goal.
It was a somewhat controversial goal. Marconi goalkeeper Nastic came well outside the area and took down Angel but play was allowed to continue until the ball reached Go Shirai who scored from close range with the goalkeeper back-peddling and a player still down. The advantage was well played because many referees may have stopped the game there and then and dealt with the incident at hand.
In the 68th minute a delightful cross from the far left reached Go Shirai in the box and he stooped beautifully down low to head in a diagonal ball that gave the Marconi goalkeeper no chance. It was Sydney Olympic’s fifth goal of the night and by now the game was well and truly in the bag for the notional home team.
In the 88th minute Sydney Olympic may have scored their sixth goal when Dimitri Hatzimouratis cut the ball back from the by-line for Angel but he placed his shot just wide of the intended target. It was to be the last goalmouth action of the exiting encounter.
After the game Sydney Olympic coach Grant Lee was pleased with his side’s win.
“I am very happy because the boys are in a good state at the moment and playing good football,” he said. “Some of the results of the weekend were surprising and it’s good for us as we just have to keep ticking over and do what we do and not focus on anybody else.
“The team as a whole is a very solid squad as it doesn’t matter who plays. We have the Westfield FFA Cup coming up this week and we rested a few boys but it doesn’t matter who comes in, we still play the same.”
Over in the Marconi dressing room coach Paul Carter spoke about the turning point in the game for his side.
“To be honest we tested Olympic tonight and the 5-1 scoreline does not reflect what we did,” he said. “We could have easily had four goals ourselves. There was a turning point in that game, even though Olympic may have gone on and won because they are a very good side.
“The turning point in that game was we had a call for a penalty late in the first half and it went straight up the other end and they got a penalty. In many ways we took it to Olympic tonight and I don’t think we have the reflection on the scoreboard to show our efforts.”
Sydney Olympic 5 (H Gaitatzis 23’, PEN 45+2′, Angel 24’, Go Shirai 60’, 68’)
Marconi Stallions 1 (Ott 35’)
Sunday April 26, 2015
Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood
Referee: Khodr Yaghi
Assistant Referees: Raymond Osborne and Janush Adabiou
Fourth Official: Tristan Harris
Sydney Olympic: Sadaka; Angel, Balderson (Spyrakis 46’), Egger, H Gaitatzis (Hatzimouratis 72’), M Gaitatzis, Markovic, Go Shirai, Soeda, Sorge (Hooper 66’), Tsattalios
Substitutes not used: Henderson, Madonis
Yellow Cards: Egger 78’
Marconi Stallions: Nastic; Thompson, Drewery, Lum, Mijic (Schmidt 81’), Nunes, Shields (Austin 72’), Ott, Rhodes (Tsovolos 69’), Flood, Travis
Substitutes not used: D’Antimo
Yellow Cards: Rhodes 30’, Mijic 48’, Flood 71’, Drewery 87’
3- Harris Gaitatzis (OLY)
2- Go Shirai (OLY)
1- Will Angel (OLY)
– by Joe Russo, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Valentine Sports Park