A brace from Panni Nikas has earned Sydney United 58 a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Sydney Olympic in its PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash at Sydney United Sports Centre on Sunday.
The former Central Coast and North Queensland Fury man enjoyed a sterling performance and was at the forefront of the action all afternoon, winning an early penalty which was duly converted by Chris Payne.
Nikas struck a double blow in the second half to make it four wins on the trot for Mark Rudan’s men, but it could’ve been a different story without goalkeeper Thomas Manos who pulled off a string of fine saves to hold the visitors at bay.
The home side ran riot in a frantic opening to the match that saw Olympic concede an early penalty when a rampaging Nikas was sandwiched by Olympic centre-halves Anthony Tomelic and Leigh Egger inside the box.
Chris Payne stepped up to the spot and confidently dispatched the spot kick into the bottom left corner.
The onslaught on the Olympic goal continued after the resulting kick off with Nikola Taneski denied by the foot of the post while Nikas was miraculously kept out by a combination of Henderson and Egger.
The visitors had several chances to equalise United 58 custodian Manos was too good as he denied Harris Gaitatzis twice in quick succession.
Taneski should’ve doubled his side’s advantage on the cusp of half-time when the attacker found himself one on one with Henderson after pouncing on an Olympic error.
However, Taneski clipped his effort over the bar much to the relief of the travelling faithful.
The miss wouldn’t come back to haunt the home side, with Nikas doubling Sydney United 58’s advantage shortly after the halftime interval.
It was a superb show of individual brilliance from Nikas who slalomed past two Olympic defenders on the byline before lashing home into the bottom left corner to make it two-nil.
Although Olympic responded with Chris Triantis forcing Manos into another fingertip save, the hosts would solidify their grasp on the match on the hour mark with Nikas hammering home a three goal advantage from the penalty spot after a foul on Taneski.
The three-goal deficit proved terminal for Grant Lee’s side, and although the Olympic coach was content with the amount of opportunities his team created throughout the ninety minutes, he lamented his side’s naivety in the concession of two penalties.
“It was soft on our behalf,” he said.
“We were putting them under pressure and creating good opportunities and then we went to sleep and conceded two sloppy goals
“We’ve got young kids at the back and sometimes our decision making wasn’t right but you’ve got to learn very quickly”.
Sydney United 58 manager Mark Rudan said he was pleased with his side’s fourth win on the trot but wasn’t getting carried away.
“There’s still a long way to go,” he said.
“I’m very pleased with the amount of chances we’re creating week by week and especially with our third clean sheet in a row.
Sydney United 58 3 (Christopher Payne (pen) 5’, Panagiotis Nikas 55’, 61’)
Sydney Olympic 0
Sunday, April 10 2016
Sydney United Sports Centre
Sydney United 58: 19. BILIC, Matthew, 22. FRAGOGIANNIS, Yianni, 17. KOFINAS, Theo, 21. MANOS, Thomas, 23. NIKAS, Panagiotis (12. VRLIC, Anthony), 6. PAYNE, Christopher, 7. SHIN, Yutaro (13. DONATIELLO, Manos), 14. STAVROULAKIS, Nicholas, 11. TANESKI, Nikola (10. MILESKI, Robert), 8. TRIANTIS, Peter, 2. VLISMAS, Kristopher
Substitutes Not Used: 1. DEPTA, Andrew, 3. VLISMAS, Alexander
Yellow Cards: TANESKI, Nikola 54’, FRAGOGIANNIS, Yianni 60’
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic: 7. ANGEL, William, 4. EGGER, Leigh, 8. FONDYKE, Howard, 10. GAITATZIS, Harris (23. VRANIC, Adrian), 1. HENDERSON, Paul, 2. SORGE, Brayden, 6. STAMATELLIS, Mitchell, 3. TOMELIC, Anthony, 9. TRIANTIS, Chris (16. GREEN, Oliver), 33. TSATTALIOS, Nikolas, 22. GAITATZIS, Michael
Substitutes Not Used: 20. CRICKMORE, Denver, 5. MADONIS, Jason, 37. MONTFORD, Eoin
Yellow Cards: 7. ANGEL, William, 33. TSATTALIOS, Nikolas
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Panni Nikas (SU)
2 – Nicholas Stavroulakis (SU)
1 – Nikola Taneski (SU)
-By Jacob Windon