A rampant second half display by Sydney Olympic has guided them to a dominant 3-1 victory against APIA Leichhardt Tigers during their PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Heritage Round clash at Belmore Sports Ground.
Goals to Jacob Boutoubia, Harris Gaitatzis and Oliver Green cancelled out Nathan Elasi’s first half opener in a game of two halves.
The result adds further misery to APIA Leichhardt Tigers who remain languishing in second last position.
Sydney Olympic began the match at a blistering pace, creating a chance in the first minute of play as Harris Gaitatzis free kick forced APIA goalkeeper Ryan Norval into a save at the back post.
The early chance sprung the Tigers into action as they started keeping the ball in Olympic’s half and in the 10th minute could have taken the lead only for a header chance to go wide of the mark.
Olympic moved forward with venom in the 14th minute and almost took the lead. After William Angel was taken down on the left by David D’Apuzzo, Harris Gaitatzis stepped up to send a great free kick into the box which bamboozled the Tigers defence leading to Jake De Marigny to get a shot on goal. Luckily for APIA, keeper Ryan Norval was strong between the sticks, claiming the ball from point blank range.
The goalkeepers were in the thick of the action and it would be Sydney Olympic’s Paul Henderson called upon next to make a crucial save. APIA winger Corey Biczo combined well with striker Jordan Murray in a counter attack forcing Olympic’s defence to back pedal. As Olympic looked to have averted danger, an attempted clearance ricocheted off Nick Olsen with the ball falling to Biczo. Luckily for the home side Henderson came off his line quickly to claim the ball just before the oncoming attacker.
APIA wouldn’t make the same mistake next time around as they took the lead in the 32nd minute when Biczo followed a Murray header on the right hand side, getting to the ball before defending Mitchell Stamatellis and creating a two on one situation. Nizco summed it up perfectly, squaring to a free Nathan Elasi at the back post to tap the ball in making it 1-0.
The goal seemed to have awoken Olympic with Jacob Boutoubia receiving the ball on the edge of the box in the 37th minute before stepping between two defenders only for Norval came off his line to save.
The momentum quickly shifted back to the Tigers and Adrian Ucchino rocketing free kick from 20 yards out almost doubled his side’s lead in the 41st minute forcing Henderson into a diving save.
Sydney Olympic head coach Grant Lee turned to his bench at the break to lift his side with Oliver Green and Cohan Morris coming on the left hand side whilst moving Jason Madonis and Wiliam Angel into attacking roles.
The move almost paid immediate dividends when Angel, Harris Gaitatzis and Jabob Boutoubia combined with Gaitatzis going through on goal in the first minute of the half, only for his shot to be well saved by the foot of Norval.
Gaitatzis was at it again in the 51st minute, this time finding space in the box on the left hand side with his snap shot tapped around the bar by Norval.
Sydney Olympic got their deserved goal in the 59th minute when Jacob Boutoubia played a splendid one-two with Madonis with the former rising well to chip the ball over a rushing Norval to make the score 1-1.
Boutoubia’s confidence was high and Olympic could have taken the lead just a minute later only for the striker to sky his shot well over the bar.
APIA was not going to die wondering and continued to pepper Olympic’s defence without creating a clear cut opportunity.
Olympic however kept creating and in the 75th minute Harris Gaitatzis received the ball in the middle of the park before turning and playing a perfect through ball to a flying Angel. The makeshift striker went through on goal with his strike well saved by a diving Norval yet again.
The Tigers task to stay in the match was thrown into disarray in the 78th minute when Nathan Millgate was given his marching orders after receiving his second yellow card just minutes after his first.
Olympic smelt blood and pinned their opposition in their own half immediately forcing them into a flurry of last ditch tackles to keep the scores level.
Oliver Green was hungry to give his side the lead ion 80 minutes when he beat two players in the box before his shot was well saved at the bottom left hand corner by Norval.
Two minutes later APIA cracked as Olympic took the lead for the first time in the match after William Angel got around Sean Symons before sending a perfect ball across the face of goal to find a free Gaitatzis at the back post who slotted home with ease.
Nick Olsen was not giving him for his side and in the 86th minute fired a shot goal ward forcing Henderson to tap the ball out for a corner.
Olympic put the game to bed in the 88th minute when Jacob Boutoubia broke free on the left hand side, beating two defenders before passing onto a free Green who composed himself before slotting the ball into the top of the net.
Following the match Sydney Olympic head coach Grant Lee said his half time message worked a treat.
“It was terrible and simply a disgraceful performance (in the first half),” he said.
“You have to turn up with intensity and a want to play especially when you play for a big club like this.
“We changed the shape and made a couple of changes in personnel which gave APIA some headaches.
“In the first five minutes of the second half we could have had three, the keeper made a couple of good saves, we hit the target and had the momentum which was nice for us.
“Even at the end before they went down to 10 I actually thought we would go on to win the game.”
In the away dressing room a frustrated skipper Franco Parisi said his side simply must learn to take their chances.
“They came out differently in the second half and we needed to adjust a bit better,” Parisi said.
“If we took our chances it would have been a different score line.”
Sydney Olympic 3 (Boutoubia 59’, H. Gaitatzis 82’, Green 88’)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers1 (Elasi 32’)
Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic: 1. Paul Henderson, 7. William Angel, 11. Jacob Boutoubia, 26. Jake De Marigny, 8. Howard Fondyke © (44. Oliver Green 46’), 10. Harris Gaitatzis, 22. Michael Gaitatzis (18. Cohan Morris 46’), 2. Jason Madonis, 27. Eoin Montford (4. Leigh Egger 82’), 16. Mitchell Stamatellis, 3. Anthony Tomelic
Substitutes not used: 12. Denver Crickmore, 19. Jack Green, 18. Cohan Morris
Yellow cards: De Marigny 45’
Red cards: nil
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 92. Ryan Norval, 2. Nathan Millgate, 4. Brad Bartels, 5. Brendan Hooper, 8. Corey Biczo (20. Tasuku Sekiya 70’), 9. Nathan Elasi, 11. Jordan Murray, 13. David D’Apuzzo (10. Franco Parisi 29’), 16. Sean Symons, 18. Adrian Ucchino ©, 23. Nick Olsen
Substitutes not used: 12. Dominic Cox, 14. Matthew Cook, 1. Blake Tuxford
Yellow cards: D’Apuzzo 13, Bartels 37’, Millgate 74’, 77’
Red cards: Millgate 77’
3 – Ryan Norval (ALT)
2 – William Angel (SO)
1 – Jacob Boutoubia
-By PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Chris Georges