A Franco Parisi master class has helped APIA Leichhardt Tigers to a dominant 3-0 win against competition strugglers Hakoah Sydney City East at Lambert Park on Sunday
The veteran midfield maestro scored and set up another as second placed APIA cut the gap between them and league leaders Wollongong Wolves to five points.
Parisi gave the home side the perfect start when he headed home only three mintues in and then showed plenty of finesse with a deft through ball which helped Dom Nasrabadi double the Tigers lead in the 28th minute.
Chris Payne wrapped up the win for the John Calleja coached side late in the contest when he found the bottom corner of the net.
The pressure was on APIA to race out of the blocks against bottom placed side Hakoah and that’s exactly what they did.
A corner by Sean Symons basically skidded along the carpet and Parisi, ever alert in the box, managed to guide it past Ryan Norval in goal with a truly beautiful header.
A few minutes later Hakoah could have equalised. A delightful through ball found Dominic Cox in a dangerous positon, but when he fired towards goal he was denied by Ivan Necevski’s feet.
Almost immediately Chris Payne for the Tigers was fed a route-one ball and galloped away towards goal but, one-on-one with Norval, he could only manage to find the ‘keeper and then from the rebound had his shot deviated for a corner. The former A-League star should really have put that one away for the Lambert Park based side.
In the 14th minute a ball across the face of goal by Sean Symons found Franco Parisi dancing his way into the box, but perhaps on this occasion there was one touch too many from the veteran and a defender managed to get in the way and concede a corner.
Hakoah were unlucky in the 24th minute when Jordan Koton found Adrian Vranic close to the opposition goal but his shot from point-blank range was beautifully saved by Necevski who even managed to turn the ball away for a corner.
APIA though did double their lead in the 28th minute. Parisi showing all of his experience held the ball up nicely before finding Dominic Nasrabadi who scored from close range, even though Hakoah’s defence was probably expecting the assistant referee to raise his flag for offside.
In the 33rd minute Parisi was at it again and found Sean Symons with another mercurial ball but the latter from an acute angle tried to chip the ‘keeper and just missed the intended target. It was the last real salvo of an eventful and exciting first half of football.
In the second stanza of play not much happened until the 64th minute when a free-kick from Vranic went straight to Necevski who managed to block and then the rebound fell to Robert Ezekiel who fired just over the crossbar.
A minute later Payne went down in the box in what appeared to be a push in the back, but the referee judged it to be all legitimate and waived play on much to the amazement of the APIA players.
In the 77th Parisi was once again a provider and this time it was for Payne who neatly tried to find the top corner of the net but he only just missed by the finest of margins.
However, Payne didn’t miss in the 87th minute when a ball was floated his way on the same right hand side of the field and the former Sydney FC player with a beautiful diagonal shot found the bottom corner of the net to score APIA’s third and final goal.
After the game APIA coach John Calleja expressed his satisfaction with the win which keeps his side in second place.
“The aim today was to make a bit of a statement because we knew that Wollongong had won already and to say that we are still in the picture and not going anywhere,” he said.
“It was a good solid performance and a very professional performance especially in the first half.
“We never underestimate Hakoah because we know that they are a good side that is always up for the fight. They beat us in the Waratah Cup final two years ago and in the last game last season which cost us the competition, so we needed to be careful today.”
His counterpart Gavin Rae was disappointed that his side was on the back foot from an early set piece.
“Giving away goals like that from a corner when we really should be clearing them is disappointing,” he said.
“You need to be on your game and concentrating against teams like APIA but we were not doing that in the first half.
“We had our chances to score but we have an inexperienced and young team. However, we won’t hide behind excuses like that because we really need to be more consistent.”
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 3 (Parisi 3’, Nasrabadi 28’, Payne 87’)
Hakoah Sydney City East: 0
Sunday, 30th June 2019
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Referee: Toby Plasto
Assistant Referees: J.Adabjou, B.Wright
Fourth Official: I.Libri
APIA LEICHHARDT TIGERS: 1.Ivan Necevski, 3.Paul Galimi, 4.Joshua Symons, 6.Chris Payne, 7.Tynan Diaz (15.Themba Muata-Marlow 84’), 10.Franco Parisi (23.Nick Stavroulakis 81’), 12.Sam McIllhatton, 16.Sean Symons, 18.Adrian Ucchino, 19.Dom Nasrabadi (14.Lachlan Hughes 72’), 21.Michael Kouta.
Substitutes not used: 8.Corey Biczo, 22.Luke Turnbull.
Yellow Cards: Galimi 63’
Red Cards: Nil
HAKOAH SYDNEY CITY EAST: 1.Ryan Norval, 2.Connor Shaddock, 5.Steve Katsionis, 6.Dominic Cox, 8.Oliver Green, 11.Jack Green (9.Shohei Okuna 72’), 12.Joshua Swadling (24.Amaury Gauthier 78’), 13.Robert Ezekiel, 14.Jordan Koton, 17.Harry Jones, 23.Adrian Vranic.
Substitutes not used: 25.Max Ephraim, 50.Zachary Sapsford, 60.Taka Noji.
Yellow Cards: O.Green 71’
Red Card: Nil
Player Ratings have now been hidden due to the second half of the season commencing.
By National Prmier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo