The Marconi Stallions have been crowned 2019 TAFE NSW Waratah Cup champions after a brilliant brace from captain Marko Jesic led the side to a 2-1 win against a ten-man Sydney United 58 at Lily’s Football Stadium on Sunday.
It was a brilliant performance from the Stallions who fought back from 1-0 down early on to claim their first top flight trophy since 2012.
It was an absolutely inspired performance from Jesic who scored a stunning header to level the scores at 1-1 going into the half after Simonoski gave United 58 the lead 28 minutes in.
A crude challenge from Matthew Bilic meant he was sent for an early shower midway through the second half with Marconi make the most of the player advantage.
A penalty kick in the dying minutes secured the win for Marconi with Man of the Match Jesic notching his second from the penalty spot and the Waratah Cup title.
United 58 made a fast start to the game and nearly claimed an early lead.
A sloppy Marconi back pass seven minutes in was pounced on by Simonoski but his effort was saved by Vekic.
The contest was traveling at lighting pace with both sides trading chances early with the action going from end to end.
After 28 minutes Simonoski found the breakthrough with a perfect volley.
A looping cross into the box found Antelmi but he was unable to control the ball which deflected wide and into the path of the United 58 striker to bury into the back of the net.
Momentum was well and truly on Marconi’s side in the closing stages of the half.
Defender Milgate was unlucky not to have given the Stallions the lead in the 41st minute when his looping header was cleared off the line by a well timed Mathew Bilic header.
However, Marconi were not going to be denied in the 44th minute.
Jesic finding the back of the net with an absolute sublime looping header to ensure both sides went into the break locked at 1-1.
United came out of the blocks with intent and Antelmi nearly did the damage when he hit the post from the edge of the penalty area.
Marconi turned the tables a few moments later as Manos was forced to rush out of his net to deny Jesic.
A mazy run from Andrew sliced through the United 58 defence but he fired high and wide.
Vekic pulled off an incredible diving save in the 65th minute from a curling Sim free-kick
The game took a dramatic turn after 67 minutes when Bilic was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for cutting town Andrew.
With the man advantage, Marconi pushed to find the lead and were saved more than once by the quick thinking of Manos.
Marconi’s pressure finally paid off when they were awarded a penalty after a handball from Adrian Vlastelica.
Jesic stepped up to the spot and fired past the keeper to give the Stallions a 2-1 lead with only 10 minutes left on the board.
United threw everything forward with the clock winding down.
Sim knocked a header over the bar from a curling corner and Vlastelica also had a headed effort saved by an alert Vekic.
With seconds left on the clock United 58 had one last effort when Trifiro lined up over a free-kick 25 yards from goal.
His stinging effort curled over the wall and dipped drastically forcing an incredible reaction save from Vekic to ensure his team took home the trophy.
Marconi coach Peter Tsekenis was all smiles after claiming what was his second title as a coach.
“This team has been written off by some this season so to win the cup is the perfect reward for a brilliant group of players,” he said.
“Today was a tough game which could’ve easily gone United’s way but we displayed a lot of character to fight back and get the result when the pressure was on.
“This is the first silverware of their career for some of the boys so it will be a moment they remember for a long time to come.
“Our focus now moves back to the league and getting Marconi into the finals. It will be a tough task but today’s performance shows how far this team has come and I believe we can get Marconi back to the finals where the club belongs.
A solemn United 58 striker Patrick Antelmi rued what could’ve been after the heartbreaking defeat.
“You can’t fault the effort of anyone today. We just failed to make the most of our chances and paid the price.” he said.
“I had three or so opportunities I should’ve done better with but sometimes that football and things don’t go your way.
“It’s never easy when you lose a final. Hopefully we can bounce back quickly and move our focus to securing our spot in the finals.
Marconi Stallions: 2 (Jesic 43’, 70’)
Sydney United 58: 1 Simonoski 28’)
Sunday, 14 July 2019
Lily Homes Stadium, Seven Hills
Referee: K Patterson
Assistant referees: J Park, S Edeling
Fourth official: S Lucas
Marconi Stallions: 1. Nenad Vekic, 2.Nathan Millgate, 3. Giorgio Speranza, 4. Roberto Speranza, 8. Connor Evans, 10. Marko Jesic, 12. James Andrew, 13. Yianni Nicolou 16. Liam Youlley, 23. Brandon Vella 28. Martin Fernandez (7. Sean O’Connell 82’)
Substitutes not used: 20. Richie Cardozo, , 14. Peter Pelekanos, 17. Kristian Sekutkoski, 40. Damian Tsekenis
Yellow Cards: Millgate 41’
Sydney United 58: 21. Thomas Manos, 4. Adrian Vlastelica, 5. Anthony Tomelic, 7. Peter Simonoski, 8. Matthew Sim (19. Joshua McDonald 89’), 9. Patrick Antelmi, 11. Yianni Perkatis (15. Tariq Maia), 12. Liam Rose, 17. Matthew Bilic, 18. Glen Trifiro, 22. Yianni Fragogiannis
Substitutes not used: 1.Daniel Sadaka, 6.Petar Markovic, , 23. Luke Vlastelica
Yellow Cards: Rose, Perkatis 34’, Bilic 52’, 66’ , Manos 88’, Fragogiannis 91′
Red Cards: Bilic
1.Nenad Vekic 7/10
Commanding his goal line and defence well, beaten by the stunning Simonoski strike. Solid shot stopper.
2.Nathan Millgate 8/10
Set up a few chances, always lively going forward and in defence. Great engines, box to box player.
3.Giorgio Speranza 6/10
Not spectacular but solid at the back, helped out in attack and on forward forays.
4.Roberto Speranza 6/10
Uncompromising in and around his box, broke up United 58’s attacks a number of times.
8. Connor Evans 6/10
Came into the game more as the first-half wore on, looked promising in midfield.
10.Marko Jesic 9/10
Scored the Stallions’ equaliser with a wonderful looping header, always in the thick of the action playing a true captain’s role. Added a penalty in the 70’ minute to put his team ahead. A real Man of the Match effort from the skipper.
12.James Andrew 8/10
His pace always worried his opposing number, good movement but crossing a little off. Came into his own in the second stanza and came close to scoring a couple of times.
13.Yianni Nicolaou 6/10
Quietly went about his business. Methodical.
16.Liam Youlley 6/10
Decent performance, covered his position well
23.Brandon Vella 7/10
Set up the leveller for Jesic, powerful afternoon’s work. Competent display.
28.Martin Fernandez 5/10
Struggled to impose himself on the match but a very competent display
Sydney United 58
21.Thomas Manos 6/10
Only beaten by the magnificent looping header during the first-half although Marconi did rattle the woodwork. Much stronger in the second period, particularly in one-on-one situations. Sent the wrong way from the spot. Cautioned late on.
4.Adrian Vlastelica 4/10
Solid, sturdy effort, particularly when called upon in the second period. Overworked after the red card and gave away the penalty.
5.Anthony Tomelic 5/10
Enthusiastic, full of running but unable to alter the course of the match.
7.Peter Simonoski 7/10
Opened the scoring when latching onto a fortuitous pass, hitting the ball on the up to arrow into the net. Great technique
8.Matthew Sim 7/10
Always dangerous with his raids down the left, battled hard until subbed in the 88’ minute.
9.Patrick Antelmi 6/10
Lively, busy, clipped the upright
11.Yianni Perkatis 6/10
Strong in the tackle but cautioned in the first-half. Subbed in the 73’ minute for Sean O’Connell.
12.Liam Rose 6/10
Another who picked up an early yellow but solid work effort for the team
17.Matthew Bilic 4/10
Surprised some with his pace at the back. Picked up a second-half caution and then received his marching orders. Had performed well until then.
18.Glen Trifiro 8/10
Playmaker, tricky to tie down as ever, always pulling the strings, making the team tick.
22.Yianni Fragogiannis 6/10
A rock in the heart of United 58’s defence, strong, difficult to go by. Cautioned in stoppage time.
-Ratings by Micky Brock
Football NSW acknowledges Nike as the Official Ball of the 2019 TAFE NSW Waratah Cup.