The Tigers tackle old foes and rivals Marconi Stallions this Friday 6th April (Good Friday) with kick off set for 3pm at Lambert Park while they will be back at Lambert Park again next Friday 13th April when they take on Bonnyrigg White Eagles with kick off set for 8pm.
Friday 6th April 2012
3pm – APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Marconi Stallions
Grade 20s – 1pm
Friday 13th April 2012
8pm – APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Bonnyrigg White Eagles
Grade 20s – 6pm
-By Mark Stavroulakis
First Grade will be kicking off at 3pm while Grade 20?s at 1pm and Grade 18?s at 11am.
The game struggled especially early on to keep spectators entertained.
The best opportunities were with Anthony Hartshorn trying his luck with a shot that ended up wide before Rockdale City almost replied instantly when Kosta Lagoudakis broke free from midfield before firing his shot over the crossbar.
Set pieces proved to be each side?s best friend midway through the first stanza of play: A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt were first to try their luck when a lovely David D?Apuzzo corner made its way to Nicola Rizzo who forced the goalkeeper Dion Shaw into a convincing save just under the crossbar.
Rockdale?s reply was equally dangerous when an Adem Kir corner was beautifully floated into Joshua Lawson who fired his header just wide of the intended target.
Another set piece almost rewarded the Tigers when Robbie Younis? free-kick forced Shaw into another good save low down.
In the 36? minute A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt could really have taken the lead when a long ball, that should have been easy prey, was terribly dribbled in an attempted clearance by Shaw.
The resulting error gifted Hartshorn the ball but, by the time he rounded the goalkeeper, his weak shot which still seemed certain to go over the line was wonderfully intercepted by Giorgio Speranza off his own line to save Rockdale?s bacon and Shaw?s blushes.
A late free-kick from Younis was once again unable to penetrate Shaw?s resilience and poise between the posts and, as such, the first-half finished goalless.
It didn?t take too long in the second-half for Rockdale City to break the goal drought when Kir fired in a rocket from approximately 30-metres that was never going to miss the back of the net, leaving Jose Bello-Amigo stupefied between the posts.
It may not be goal of the season given that it is only Round 1, but it will surely go close.
The home side should really have extended the lead shortly afterwards when Steven Veleski was gifted a great ball that allowed him to charge freely, but unfortunately at the crucial moment with only Jose Bello-Amigo to beat, he pulled his shot across the face of the goal and just wide of the posts.
It was the lucky break A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt needed, and perhaps deserved, because only minutes later the ball bobbled its way into the box.
Franco Parisi, ever the opportunist, made no mistake in slotting the ball home.
Another Younis free-kick shaved the posts shortly afterwards before the home side missed two clear cut chances later on.
Firstly, Sash Trajcevski headed just wide before replacement Jeffrey Issa was thwarted by an out-coming Bello Amigo.
After the game Lee Sterrey, coach of the Rockdale City Suns, was reasonably pleased with his side?s efforts:
?I thought we went alright given that APIA were a top five team from last year,? he said.
?I thought we handled their attack well and we had to get men behind the ball, that?s why we played with five in the backline to break out in the counter [attack].
?Adem Kir scored a great goal and 5? minutes later we had a clear break away with Veleski and we didn?t score with a one-on-one. If we had have gone 2-0 up, the game was over.
?We set the game up great but our execution wasn?t there at times. However, for a team that?s only about fifty percent of last year?s squad, and I have only been here five weeks, there is more positives out it than negatives.?
When quizzed about what he expected for season 2011, Sterrey was definitely upbeat:
?Look, at the end of the day, we want to make the play-offs, like all teams, so once a team is in the five there is every opportunity to go on and win a Grand Final.
?There?s a good character in this club and the Board [of Directors] and the committee is very progressive, so it?s all good.?
The message from the opposition was remarkably similar with A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt?s Football Manager Tony Raciti impressed with his team?s first official outing:
?I thought that obviously we were the better team even though we didn?t play that well today, but we did create four to five clear-cut chances,? he stated.
?I think we started three weeks too late and the boys are still picking up their fitness, but today?s ground was heavy to play on.
?The positives are that the whole back four and goalkeeper were exceptional and didn?t put a foot wrong all game and also David D?Apuzzo had a great game.?
When quizzed about the prospects of APIA Leichhardt in 2011, Raciti was equally positive and full of expectation:
?I think every team should expect to finish first, otherwise they shouldn?t bother to go into the competition, so obviously we are aiming for that position.
?It?s either first or nothing for us,? he concluded.
Meanwhile, in the Grade 20s A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt started the season with a convincing 3-1 win over the home side, Rockdale City Suns.
Sunday, 27th March, 2011
Bicentennial Park, Rockdale
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Thomas Lee and Alex Long
Fourth Official: Thomas Diakos
Rockdale City Suns 1 (Adem Kir 50?)
A.P.I.A. Leichhardt Tigers 1 (Franco Parisi 61?)
Rockdale City Suns FC: 22.Dion Shaw; 7.Peter Apolevski, 23.Askin Oygur, 10.Sash Trajcevski, 6.Joshua Lawson, 13.Giorgio Speranza, 4.Kosta Lagoudakis (11.Adem Kir 13?), 8.Dominic Hudap, 3.Shay Spitz (19.Marino Musumeci 88?), 9.Jason Naidovski (5.Jeffrey Issa 74?), 12.Steven Veleski.
Substitutes Not Used: 17.Sash Tirovski
Yellow Cards: Naidovski 60?
Red Cards: Nil
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers: 1.Jose Bello-Amigo; 2.Mark Byrnes, 3.John Kelso, 13.David D?Apuzzo, 4.Cole Tinkler, 5.Michael West, 7.Stephen Kayes, 8.Anthony Hartshorn, 11.Nicola Rizzo (19.Sam Messam 74?), 9.Robbie Younis, 10.Franco Parisi (16.Chris James 88?)
Substitutes Not Used: 40.Terry Dalbroi, 17.Matthew Fsadni, 15.David Dascal
Yellow Cards: Hartshorn 81?, Parisi 83?
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Adem Kir (RCS)
2 – John Kelso (ALT)
1 – David D?Apuzzo (ALT)
-By Joe Russo