A 93rd minute winner from Tariq Maia has lifted Sydney United 58 to a dramatic last gasp 3-2 victory against Sutherland Sharks during their National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash at Seymour Shaw on Saturday night.
The talented midfielder delivered at the death with a clinical finish to give United 58 a return to winning ways.
It was Sutherland’s fourth straight defeat and was yet another frustrating result despite a strong performance for the boys from the Shire.
United 58’s Glen Trifiro scored twice but his efforts were cancelled out by goals to Jeremy Cox and a Raul Romero penalty for Sutherland.
However, it wasn’t enough to settle the tie as Maia netted at the second attempt in time added on.
A frenetic opening produced plenty of thrills and spills but little in the way of opportunity as both midfield’s jostled to gain the ascendancy in a must win or each.
Tarik Ercan, dallying on the edge of the area, lost the ball which was centred for Trifiro, unmarked in the box, to sweetly side-foot home to give the visitors the lead in the 11’ minute.
It was a gift for United and they accepted it gratefully leaving the Sharks chasing the game at an early stage.
The home side rallied and peppered the United box with crosses from the left that found no target until Juan Carlos Romero, robbing the ball on the right, fired in a shot Thomas Manos could only parry as far as Jeremy Cox whose rebound effort rippled the net to restore parity.
Manos produced a fine save from Raul Romero midway through the half as Sutherland attempted to turn their impetus into goals but again chances were sporadic and far between.
‘Tricky’ Trifiro produced a moment of sheer elegance in the 37th minute when spinning to turn the ball home for his, and United 58’s, second of the evening to restore the lead for the visitors.
With most play in the middle of the pitch in what was proving a tense encounter.
United looked to be taking a slender lead into the break until a stoppage time penalty to the Sharks saw Romero plant the ball past Manos the level the scores once more.
The decision incensed United as there appeared a hand-ball in the build up but the break was reached all square.
The visitors returned to the field still smarting after the break and took time to settle back into their rhythm.
A hopeful punt forward from Harry Sutherland found Cox on the left and his cross freed Romero on the edge of the area however, his shot was straight at Manos who gathered comfortably five minutes into the restart.
What ensued was tough and uncompromising, no quarter asked nor given with the only element lacking being goalmouth action.
It was entertaining but would take something special or a dramatic mistake to wrest the result.
Pat O’Shea attempted a long range shot that had Manos punching clear in the 78th minute but as the game looked to be petering out for a draw, up stepped Maia to net the points for United 58 at the second attempt after Anthony Bouzanis saved his first shot but the midfielder was able to head home on the rebound.
“It was a mistake really,” admitted Sharks coach Terry Palapanis at the whistle.
“There were some soft goals but at 2-all I thought we had them.
“A draw would have been a good result but we had chances to win the match but again we opted for the wrong decision.
“We cannot keep doing this week after week, we have to be more clinical in front of goal.
“There were a number of mistakes made tonight.”
While Sydney United 58 coach Miro Vlastelica praised his chargers persistence in scoring the winner.
“After we conceded the second goal we went into our shell a bit and needed to come out in the second-half adjusted.
“We adjusted well and we then pick up a couple of injuries which forced our substitutions and that unbalanced the formation a bit.
“Credit to the boys, they battled to the end in a game that could have gone either way and we’ve got the win.”
Both teams commence their FFA Cup runs next week with Sutherland Sharks traveling down South to face the Gerringong Breakers while United 58 tackle Gladesville Ryde Magic at Christie Park on Wednesday 10th April.
Sutherland Sharks 2 (Cox 17’, R.Romero 45+2p)
Sydney United 58 3 (Trifiro 11’ 37’, Maia 90+3)
Seymour Shaw Park, Miranda
Saturday, 6th April, 2019
Referee: Ben Abraham
Asst. Refs: Jack Bell & Raymond Osborne
4th Official: Liam Cole
Sutherland Sharks: 1.Anthony Bouzanis, 3.Mark Warren, 4.Patrick O’Shea, 6.Lachlan Everett, 7.Juan Carlos Heras Romero, 9.Jeremy Cox (2.Quentin Cheng 79’), 10.Raul Beneit Romero, 12.Blair Brown, 16.Caoimhin Fowler (11.Jordan Morfitis 73’), 19.Harry Sutherland, 21.Tarik Ercan
Substitutes not used: 15.Thomas Papa, 18.Mitchell Evans, 25.Brodie Clarkson
Yellow Cards: Brown 33’
Sydney United 58: 21.Thomas Manos, 3.Jordan Roberts, 4.Adrian Vlastelica (14.Nick Stavroulakis 58’), 5.Anthony Tomelic, 9.Patrick Antelmi, 11.Yianni Perkatis, 12.Liam Rose, 13.Sam Perre, (8.Peter Simonovski i58’) 15.Tariq Maia, 18.Glen Trifiro, 19.Joshua McDonald (10.Sebastian Gallegos 70’)
Substitutes not used: 1.Daniel Sadaka, 40.Michael Rhus
Yellow Cards: Antelmi 29’, Manos 45+2’, Roberts 80’
3 – Trifiro (SU)
2 – Perkatis (SU)
1 – R.Romero (SS)
-By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Micky Brock