Sydney Olympic eased to a 2-0 PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s win over a new look Parramatta FC who sported as many as 10 new faces at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday afternoon under new manager Marshall Soper.
Goals in each half for Olympic secured a crucial victory to keep up pressure on the top two after a slip from APIA Leichhardt Tigers earlier in the round.
The hosts were dominant throughout, and will consider themselves unfortunate not to have scored more than their two goals.
Mohamed Rahimi opened the scoring early in the first half before Yu Kuboki added a second for Olympic ten minutes after the break, sealing what was ultimately a comfortable win for one of the Premiership hopefuls.
A lively first few minutes very nearly saw Sydney Olympic open the scoring after only 30 seconds, as Jinya An’s pass across the face of goal was cleared off the line and out for a corner by a sliding Yuya Samba.
The visitors were in on-goal themselves shortly after as Victor Anyimba held off his marker to find himself one-on-one with Paul Henderson. However, Henderson put enough pressure on the striker who failed to capitalise on his great chance.
Olympic began to find a foothold in the game after a frantic start, and settled into possession deep inside the Parramatta FC half with their opponents apparently content to allow them to do so. An might have put his side into an early lead when he leapt alone to meet a corner at the near post, but his flicked header was saved well by Stefan Giglio.
An Olympic goal seemed inevitable, but it was still a surprise when Rahimi drilled a low shot from the right corner of the box which bounced as it zipped past Giglio and into the net at the far post.
The hosts showed little sign of letting up after going ahead, and An was next to go close when his free kick was pushed away for a corner.
When Parramatta did make it out of their own half, they found themselves presented with the best chance of the match. Anyimba out-muscled a chasing defender to draw Henderson into a one-on-one, but the goalkeeper stood his ground well and made a sharp save to deny the striker what would have been a goal very much against the run of play.
The half petered out with Parramatta fortunate to go into the break only a goal behind, and Olympic no doubt frustrated that they couldn’t make more of their dominance. The hosts came out for the second half determined to add to their lead early, and An had another well-struck freekick saved a few minutes after the restart.
Parramatta enjoyed longer spells in possession in the second half than they did in the first, but struggled to find a final ball when they neared their opponent’s penalty box. It came as little surprise when Yu Kuboki doubled Olympic’s lead with a close range header a little under ten minutes after the break.
An threatened to make it three when he drifted across the top of the box before unleashing a shot which Giglio tipped over the bar. Kuboki might have had a second of his own when he was played through on the edge of the area, but Giglio was again on hand to keep Parramatta in the match.
A late penalty was awarded to Olympic when a Parramatta defender was judged to have handled the ball in the box, but Corey Finch, on for the outstanding Giglio, made an excellent save himself to deny Peter Makrillos and Sydney Olympic the pleasure of a third goal. They might have deserved it, but could be otherwise pleased with a confident performance and a clean sheet, while closing in on the top two ahead of them.
“We dominated for large parts of the game,” Sydney Olympic’s Peter Zorbas said.
“We could’ve taken a few more chances but at the end of the day two does the job, and we’re happy with the three points
“It’s like I said last week we’re looking to close the gap slowly, and we’re creating a gap between ourselves and the teams behind us, so I’m very happy with this result.”
Parramatta FC coach Marshall Soper said that a lack of preparation was partly responsible for his team’s performance, but he was nonetheless pleased given the circumstances.
“We’ve had one training session together,” he said.
“This week was almost like a training session for us – next week is the most important week for us.
“These players have only come together on Friday night – it’s a very new starting eleven, so I’m happy with what we did today.
“We had two great chances to score, it was a competitive match, and the game was played in pretty good spirits.”
Sydney Olympic FC 2 (Rahimi 9′, Kuboki 53′)
Parramatta FC 0
Sunday 18 June 2017, at Belmore Sports Ground
Referee: B. Abraham
Assistant referees: N. Backo and R. Osborne
Fourth official: H. Carwardine
Sydney Olympic FC: 1. HENDERSON Paul, 11. AN Jinya, 7. ANGEL William, 24. GLIGOR Christopher, 12. KUBOKI Yu, 8. MADONIS Jason, 9. PAVICEVIC Radovan (10. MAKRILLOS Peter 56′), 16. TIMOTHEOU George, 14. RAHIMI Mohamed (19. BURGESS Darcy 79′), 6. STAMATELLIS Mitchell, 23. MOURDOUKOUTAS Tass
Subs not used: 99. KATSETIS Paul, 20. CONSONI Ezequiel
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
Parramatta FC: 1. GIGLIO Stefan (40. FINCH Corey), 19. ALSAAD Dhari (7. BLAKELY Ryan 81′), 11. ANDRICOPOULOS Nikita, 17. ANYIMBA Victor, 12. DONATIELLO Marcus, 20. GALBRAITH Hamish, 8. HASANZADAH Ahmad, 15. KONTOS Johnny (18. COCARO Adrian 75′), 16. SALINAS William, 10. SAMBA Yuya, 3. TSIOULOS Nathan
Subs not used: 6. AWAZ Abuzar, 9. FILIPOVIC Marko
Yellow Cards: Anyimba 90′
Red Cards: N/A
-By PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Max Grieve.