Sydney Olympic claimed three valuable points at home by defeating Blacktown Spartans 2-1 in an entertaining but gritty encounter in its Round 11 PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash at Belmore Sports Ground.
The game could have gone either way had the Spartans taken advantage of their chances.
A red card for Nick Tsattalios who was sent off for a second yellow card added extra intruige to the second half but Olympic was able to hang on with only ten men.
Goals to Jacob Boutoubia and Michael Gatatzis helped the home side to a 2-0 lead but a Shu Sasaki goal in the 68th minute ensured it wasn’t going to be a straight forward win for Grant Lee’s Olympic team.
In the third minute of play a free kick from the right by Harris Gaitatzis bounced dangerously in front of goalkeeper Carlos Saliadarre who turned it away nicely for a corner.
The Spartans replied in the ninth minute when a lovely through ball found Shu Sasaki who sprinted away all alone and unchallenged, but when confronted by veteran goalkeeper Paul Henderson he fluffed his lines and the Olympic custodian made a great save with his feet.
In the 11th minute Sydney Olympic scored the first goal of the encounter. It wasn’t elegant but it counted as Jacob Boutoubia poked it in for the home side to open the scoring after the ball bounced off Saliadarre.
In the 21st minute a cross from the left by Jake Green found Boutoubia who with a wonderfully powerful header forced Saliadarre into a great save to turn the ball over the crossbar for a corner.
In the 24th minute a ball from the right reached Harris Gaitatzis who straightened up and lined up his shot from just outside the box and fired just over the crossbar. Sydney Olympic at this stage seemed in control of the encounter.
In the 35th minute Yianni Perkatis did all the hard work before firing a diagonal shot along the surface that seemed certain to end up in the bottom right hand corner of the net. ‘Keeper Paul Henderson wound back the years to get down and turn the ball around the post for a corner.
It was to be the last opportunity for either side in the first stanza of play.
Early in the second half a point blank shot by Boutoubia hit the cross bar as Olympic came close to doubling their lead.
In a moment of frustration, Nick Tsattalios received his second yellow card for a silly challenge and consequently left his side with only ten players.
In the 55th minute a delightful cross from the right by William Mutch reached Sasaki close to the goal but his header was just over the target as the Spartans tried hard to equalise the ledger.
In the 63rd minute Sydney Olympic doubled their lead. Anthony Tomelic crossed the ball from the left for Michael Gaitatzis to out-jump his marker and head the ball powerfully into the back of the net from close range.
In the 68th minute Blacktown Spartans struck back and were right back in the game.
Sasaki received a ball from the right and, from close range with an angled shot, beat the outstretched hand of Henderson to score.
In the 71st minute a cross by Mutch was met by a header from Nakamura in the end the ball finished just a fraction over for the Spartans.
Late in the game Olympic sent Michael Loupis for a cameo appearance to reward the youngster for his marvellous hat-trick in the Under 20’s encounter earlier in the day.
After the game Sydney Olympic coach Grant Lee was very happy to have secured all three points.
“We have had a busy period of football with a lot of cup games in a short turnaround with a very thin squad,” he said.
“When you consider everything that we have gone through recently, I am very happy.
“Going down to ten players with 40 minutes remaining did give us a scare because we have played a lot of hard matches and there’s not a lot of depth on the bench.
“We played a very hard midweek cup game and for the boys to back up again with that sort of effort is very taxing.”
Over in the Blacktown Spartans rooms their captain Carlos Saliadarre was disappointed that a little luck didn’t go their way.
“We had a lot of chances and our finishing wasn’t there,” he said.
“I gave away a sloppy first goal but I suppose these things happen on pitches at this stage of the season but credit to them [Olympic].
“The bounce of the ball, a bit of luck and a young squad all adds up but it needs to be turned around in the second half of the season with better results.”
Next week in Heritage Round and Sydney Olympic host vintage foes APIA Leichhardt Tigers while the younger Blacktown Spartans are on the road again and face Parramatta FC.
Sydney Olympic 2 (Boutoubia 11’, M. Gaitatzis 63’)
Blacktown Spartans 1 (Sasaki 68’)
Sunday 22nd May 2016
Belmore Sports Ground
Referee: Rick Schneider
Assistant Referees: Joon Park & Danny Horstead
Fourth Official: Brandon Lovric
Sydney Olympic: 1. HENDERSON Paul, 2. SORGE Brayden (14. GREEN Jake 10’), 3. TOMELIC Anthony, 6. STAMATELLIS Mitch, 7. ANGEL Will, 8. FONDYKE Howard, 10. GAITATZIS Harris (52. LOUPIS Michael 89’), 11. BOUTOUBIA Jacob, 15. De MARIGNY Jake, 22. GAITATZIS Michael, 33. TSATTALIOS Nick
Substitutes not used: 20. CRICKMORE Denver, 40. KATSIONIS Steven
Yellow Cards: Tsattalios 40’, De Marigny 87’
Red Cards: Tsattalios 52’
Blacktown Spartans: 1. SALIADARRE Carlos, 3. TANNER Joshua, 4. MUTCH William (14. MORTON Hayden 80’), 5. DUKIC Luka, 6. PERKATIS Yianni, 7. SASAKI Shu (25. GAUTHIER Amaury 88’), 8. OTT Jacob (9. PROIA Anthony 71’), 10. NAKAMURA Futa, 11. CRIGHTON Jordan, 15. WHITESIDE Thomas, 20. TOSI Benjamin.
Substitutes not used: 41. NASCIMBEN Domenic, 17. TOMOHIRO Hyams
Yellow Cards: Whiteside 15’, Dukic 48’, Tanner 78’
Red Cards: Nil
3. – Jacob Boutoubia (SO)
2. – Will Angel (SO)
1. – Shu Sasaki (BS)
-by Joe Russo, PlayStation®National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Belmore Sports Ground