Lambert Park is set to host a cracking NPL Finals Series fixture this Sunday as duel Premiership and Championship winners Sydney Olympic entertain the best from the West, Perth SC in what promises to be a mouth-watering Elimination Final match-up.
Abbas Saad’s men are still reeling from a season of highs having taken out the prestigious double and will be using their recent 3-1 NPL NSW Men’s Grand Final victory against APIA Leichhardt Tigers as inspiration when they tackle Ramon Falzon’s men.
Their opponents will by no means be a push over as Perth SC, nicknamed the ‘Azzurri’, will also be full of confidence as they too took out the double in Western Australia.
Perth SC stole the Premiership off Perth Glory by one solitary point while they convincingly defeated the same outfit in the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup four goals to one thanks to a stunning hat-trick by Paul Zimarino.
Celebrating their 70th year anniversary, Zimarino is hoping that his boys can give the NPL Finals Series a fair shake-up starting with Olympic.
“It really will be a great match-up when you think about it, Western Australia’s best versus NSW’s best.
“We all know how strong the NPL NSW Men’s competition is and what a great club Sydney Olympic is and has been so all the players are really looking forward to this challenge.”
The 20-year-old attacking midfielder stated that his chargers will keep a close eye on Blues’ Spanish star Alejandro Sanchez and lynch-pin midfielder Max Burgess as key targets.
“We have watched a few video highlights and have identified both Alejandro and Max as threats, but we also know that they have proven big game players all across the park, so we will need to be at our very best come Sunday.”
One player the Blues need to focus on will be a red-hot Brazilian in ace striker Gustavo Catarcione.
“Gustavo brings so much to the team and I believe he is and has been one of the best players ever to play in the NPL for the last several seasons.
“He has also been amongst the goals in W.A., has won himself a number of Golden Boot awards and he always gives our team that extra edge.”
One player the Azzurri will miss however, will be former Socceroos defender Adrian Madaschi who will not be traveling to Sydney.
“Adrian will be a big loss for us as he is a good leader on the pitch.
“Although he hasn’t had much game time this year, each time he has stepped onto the pitch, he has always offered us that extra strength in defence.”
Perth SC do boost a pretty young squad with the team averaging the age of 25, something that could well prove a good sign for the visitors.
One aspect the travelling squad will need to come to terms with though, is the match being played on artificial surface at Lambert Park.
Although Perth SC’s spiritual home ground Dorrien Gardens is a grass pitch, the club does boast artificial training pitches which has assisted in the team’s lead-up to this match against the Blues.
“All pitches in the Western Australian NPL are grass pitches so we lose out on that.
“In saying that though, we do train twice a week on our artificial training surface that we have on site along with training on our normal ground so we will be ready for this.”
Olympic will have other ideas and will be fully focused on the tough job at hand with club stalwart Will Angel ready for the big test.
Angel has been with the Blues for an amazing 15 years now, and at the age of 29, cannot wait for the big match on Sunday.
“The boys are buzzing, its business as usual at training with everybody focused on the next game at hand in the NPL Finals Series.
“The squad is very motivated to win the treble for the club which would cap off a tremendous season.
“We know how important the NPL Finals Series is and we want to make a good account for ourselves and our fans.
“We understand Perth SC have had a very successful season and have quality players across the park but we are confident we can do the job at Lambert Park in front of our amazing home fans.”
Angel will no doubt bring his experience and his energy along with his love for the club to will the Sydney Olympic boys to a hopeful win and a chance to play either Canberra FC or Campbelltown City in the NPL Finals Series Semi Finals to be played on the 22nd/23rd of September with the big final set for September 29th or 30th.
NPL Finals Series 2018 Elimination Final
Sunday 16th September
Sydney Olympic v Perth SC
*Tickets to be sold at the gates
*Match to be livestreamed on www.nationalpremierleagues.com.au