Reigning NPL NSW Men’s champions Sydney Olympic has narrowly missed out on a place in the finals despite a final round 3-1 win against Sydney FC at Lambert Park.
Two goals to Alex Sanchez and one to Jack Stewart was enough to silence the home side in what was a thrilling Round 22 contest.
Benjamin Koop found the back of the net in the 13th minute for Sydney FC but it proved to be nothing more than a stat line as Olympic claimed all three points.
The win was not enough to secure finals football for the Olympic, as a tight battle for fourth and fifth position was won by Sydney United and Marconi Stallions respectively.
Olympic had a brilliant start to the game, scoring twice within the first 10 minutes.
Stewart opened scoring for the visitors in the 5th minute, sliding a left-foot strike into the netting from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Sanchez doubled Olympic’s lead just minutes later, working his magic to charge through Sydney FC’s defence and send his shot out of reach of Thomas Heward-Belle in the 8th minute.
Despite a five-minute period of dominance for Sydney Olympic, Sydney FC were competitive against Olympic, utilising their technical ability to counteract Olympic’s experience and physicality.
The home side worked their way back into the game in the 13th minute, with Koop breaking free from Billy Patramanis to knock in a header from a Callum Talbot cross.
The teams continued to battle it out, with both sides having their share of chances, but it was Olympic who would score again in the 68th minute through Sanchez.
The Spaniard scored his second of the match, connecting with a cross from Jinya An to head home a third for the visitors.
Olympic coach Abbas Saad expressed his disappointment that his team weren’t going to be playing finals football this year.
“We’re disappointed but obviously very, very proud of the boy’s efforts,” he explained.
“We’ve beaten ourselves this year and that’s the disappointing factor, we could have done a lot better.
“It is what it is, we’ve beaten four of those top five teams that are going to be in the semi-finals.
“We felt if we could just get into the finals maybe we could show our true colours.”
Despite the loss, Sydney FC coach Jim Van Weeren was proud of the style of football his team was executing.
“The style of football the boys played, especially in the opposition half, and the combination play between boys was really special today,” he explained.
“There’s been some big learning moments in this comp.
“There’s some quality players and they can punish you for some mistakes, especially if you give the ball away in your half, as we saw today.”
Sydney FC 1 (Benjamin Koop 13’)
Sydney Olympic FC 3 (Jack Stewart 5’, Alex Sanchez 8’, 68’)
Sunday, 11 August 2019.
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Referee: D. Stack
Assistant Referees: J. Bell and M. Staples
Fourth Official: L. Jones
Sydney FC: 1. Thomas Heward-Belle, 2. Fletcher Mcfarlane (12. Calem Nieuwenhof 45’), 3. Benjamin Van Meurs, 5. Patrick Scibilio, 6. Harry Van Der Saag (9. Hamish Lamberton 82’), 8. Joel King, 11. Luke Ivanovic, 13. Jordan Swibel, 15. Ryan Teague (16. Paolo Bonanni 82’), 17. Callum Talbot, 18. Benjamin Koop
Substitutes Not Used: 4. Mitchell Mattison, 30. Matteo Scali
Yellow Cards: Calem Nieuwenhof 90’
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic FC: 1. Paul Henderson, 3. Riley Woodcock, 6. Nikola Kuleski, 8. Jason Madonis, 9. Radovan Pavicevic (22. Michael Gaitatzis 79’), 10. Harris Gaitatzis, 11. Jinya An, 12. Zachary Mackenzie, 14. Alejandro Sanchez, 17. Jack Stewart (2. Thomas Whiteside 88’), 25. Dimi Petratos (19. Darcy Burgess 66’), 26. Billy Patramanis,
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Ezequiel Consoni, 33. Nikolas Tsattalios
Yellow Cards: Riley Woodcock 38’
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings have now been hidden due to the second half of the season commencing.
By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Madeline Riley (@madelineriley23)