A late Chris Payne strike has helped APIA Leichhardt claim their first win of the season edging Sydney Olympic 2-1 at Lambert Park on Sunday.
It was a game of two halves but Payne’s finish only three minutes from full-time proved the difference between the two rivals from Sydney’s inner-west.
APIA dominated what was a physical first half of football, taking the lead in the 17th minute through a David D’Apuzzo header.
Olympic hit the pitched refreshed after the break and took control of the second stanza, with Bai Antoniou netting the equalizer in the 60th minute.
The match looked likely to finish in a draw, but as the game came to a close Payne pulled off an 87th minute thriller that saw the home side take all three points.
The home side utilized the pace of their front three well in the first half, mounting the pressure of a high front-line on their opponents.
After knocking on the door in the opening stages of the match, the first goal came through a corner in the 17th minute in what appeared to be a textbook play by the hosts.
The corner kick landed at the head of in-form defender Josh Symons, who knocked it on to D’Apuzzo who headed it home.
The home side continued to threaten the visitors throughout the remainder of the first half, however they entered the half-time break with a one goal lead.
Olympic hit the pitched with vigor in the second half, coming close to an equalizer on several occasions before it finally eventuated through Antoniou in the 60th minute in what was a well taken goal.
Adam Parkhouse cut in a perfectly placed ball to Antoniou, who fired his shot straight into the netting from close range.
The hosts were able to take the lead in the 87th minute as Sean Symons sent a high cross in front of the goal and an unmarked Payne finished the job, pushing the ball over the line with his chest.
Olympic came close to a second equalizer in the final minutes of the match, but veteran keeper Ivan Necevski proved his worth for APIA making a crucial save to keep the lead and finish the game 2-1.
APIA coach John Calleja was proud of his side for staying in the game to score a late winner.
“It was a physical game, it was a strong game, it was a good game,” he said.
“There were two good teams battling against each other.
“I thought we were very good in the first half and we sort of fell away a bit in the second half and Olympic controlled a lot of the game and probably deservedly got an equalizer.
“Our boys just hang in there and they keep fighting and they keep battling and they got rewarded with a late goal and you could say we deserved it.
Olympic coach Terry Palapanis was disappointed his team didn’t come away with the result.
“We started slow, in the first 20 minutes we weren’t great but after that I thought we totally dominated the match,” he explained.
“You played against the Champions and you totally outplayed them so it’s something that we can go into the next match with a bit of optimism.”
APIA Leichardt Tigers 2 (David D’Apuzzo 17’, Chris Payne 87’)
Sydney Olympic FC 1 (Bai Antoniou 60’)
Sunday 8th March 2020
Referee: K. Patterson
Assistant Referees: M. Riedy, M. Staples
Fourth Official: C. Fisher
Sydney Olympic FC: 1. Anthony Bouzanis, 2. Thomas Whiteside, 6. Nicola Kuleski, 7. William Angel, 8. Jason Madonis, 9. Bai Antoniou, 10. Raul Beneit Romero, 11. Adam Parkhouse, 12. Zachary Mackenzie, 22. Fabio Ferreira (25. James Cakovski 87’), 33. Nikolas Tsattalios (14. Peter Kekeris 29’)
Substitutes Not Used: 19. Darcy Burgess, 20. Nicholas Sorras, 37. Theph Theph
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
APIA Leichardt Tigers: 1. Ivan Necevski, 3. Paul Galimi, 4. Joshua Symons, 6. Christopher Payne, 7. Dominion Nasrabadi (8. Corey Biczo 64’), 10. Franco Parisi (9. Jeremy Cox 84’), 13. David D’Apuzzo (14. Nicholas Stavroulakis 77’), 15. Themba Muata-Marlow, 16. Sean Symons, 18. Adrian Ucchino, 21. Michael Kouta
Substitutes Not Used:, 17. Patrick Scibilio, 22. Luke Turnbull
Yellow Cards: Adrian Ucchino 36’, Franco Parisi 44’ Michael Kouta 74’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Joshua Symons (APIA)
2 – Christopher Payne (APIA)
1 – Adam Parkhouse (SO)
By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Madeline Reilly