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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 24 Aug 2019
SPORT 24 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 24 AUGUST 2019 GEORGE STOGIANNOU The NPL home and away season reaches a dramatic climax this Sunday with all the seven final round matches kicking off at the same time. Will Heidelberg or Avondale win the Premier's Plate? Which two teams amongst Dandenong Thunder, Kingston City and Pascoe Vale will be relegated and which team will survive to make the relegation play-off? Which two teams amongst Bentleigh, Green Gully, Oakleigh and Hume will finish in the top four and earn a home final in the first week of the elimination finals? All these questions remain to be answered this Sunday. At Lakeside oval, Heidelberg United fans will be hoping to celebrate an unprecedented third Premiers Plate in a row, which they will if the Bergers can defeat their traditional rival South Melbourne. The Bergers reclaimed top spot from Avondale for the first time this season, with their dramatic injury time 3-2 win over Avondale in last week's epic match at Avenger Park. Amidst euphoric scenes after the match, Bergers coach Katsakis praised his team's will to win. "We need to keep working. We need to remain level headed. Nothing's done yet. We're only on top of the league and there's another game to go. I've seen funnier things happen in football. We need to prepare , we need to be ready for it," Katsakis told HUFC TV. When asked about how it would feel to win the minor Premiership at Lakeside against the old foe, Katsakis replied, "Tradition is tradition and football games are football games. The most important thing is we make our people proud. It doesn't matter where we win it, as long as we do. It's very crucial. It would be a pity to drive through this season, the way we did and keep coming at it. I keep saying this, only 6-7 weeks ago, we were ten points behind. And today we're two points ahead in second place. It doesn't matter where it is. The win is the most important thing, and winning another minor premiership is incredibly crucial to the whole club." If South manages to take points off the Bergers, and Avondale defeats Bentleigh Greens at Kingston Heath, the Premiers Plate will go to Avengers Park for the first time. The Greens, are clinging on to fourth spot on the ladder, knowing a loss on Sunday could tip them out of the four. Last week a George Lambadaridis' equaliser earned them a point at Port Melbourne. Heidelberg United’s Sean Ellis scored the dramatic injury time winner against Avondale that returned the Bergers to the top of the ladder. PHOTO: SALLY TSALIKIDIS (HUFC PHOTOGRAPHER) Brave Olympic bows out of FFA Cup to cup holders GEORGE STOGIANNOU Brisbane NPL side, Olympic FC, pushed the reigning FFA Cup holder Adelaide United all the way, in their narrow 2-3 loss in the Round of 16 FFA Cup tie before a crowd of just over 1000 at Perry Park in Brisbane on Wednesday evening. Olympic kept the pressure on the visitors' defence despite falling behind twice in the opening half hour to goals from Reds teenage rising star Al Hassan Toure. The speedy Costa Psaros cancelled out Toure's first goal when he outran the Reds' defence to control a Mundy long ball, and fire past Reds' keeper Paul Izzo who was to be tested on several occasions throughout the match. Olympic had a goal ruled out for offside, hit the woodwork, and came close to scoring through several other ef- forts. But it was a second half penalty converted by former Bentleigh Greens star Chris Lucas, which levelled the scores in the 64th minute and set the stage for a tense finale. With the match headed to extra time, Reds Riley McGree drew a foul in the box, allowing Adelaide's George Blackwood to score the deciding goal with the penalty kick and send the Reds into the quarter finals at Olympic's expense. In Melbourne, NPL 2 side Moreland Zebras became the first ever third tier club to reach the quarter final stage when it defeated Queensland NPL side Magpie Crusaders 4-0 before a crowd of just over 1300 at CB Smith Reserve. The Zebras Thomas Barforosh scored a first half brace and Tremayne Sadler and Liam Cannell added second half goals for a comfortable win. In other Round of 16 matches on Wednesday evening, the two A-League clubs Melbourne City and Newcastle Jets marched into the quarterfinals with wins away to Marconi Stallions and Edgeworth FC respectively. City defeated the Stallions 2-1 whilst the biggest crowd of the night, nearly 4,300 fans gathered at Jack McLaughlan oval to watch the visiting Jets put five goals past Edgeworth. The Jets Dimi Petratos scored a brace in a 5-1 win. Four remaining Rd of 16 matches are scheduled for this coming Wednesday evening. These include: • Adel. Olympic v Hume City • Brisb. Roar v C. Coast Mariners • Brisb. Strikers v Manly Utd • Sydney Utd v Western Sydney Wanderers Oakleigh Cannons could be one of the teams which replace the Greens in the top DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Dramatic climax for NPL home and away season draws to an end four if it can defeat third placed Green Gully at home on Sunday. Meanwhile Kingston City, missed an opportunity to climb out of the automatic relegation spots last Monday when it lost 1-3 at home to Dandenong City. Making matters worse for the Reds will be the absence of experienced defender Faisal Sakhizada for their final game of the season away to Hume City, after the defender was red carded early in the game against Dandenong City. On Sunday, Kingston City fans will be keeping a close eye on the score from the Dandenong Thunder and Melbourne Knights. A win to Thunder will doom Kingston to NPL 2 next season, but a win to the Knights, means Kingston will have to at least draw its game away to Hume City, to make the relegation play-off ahead of Thunder. Relentless Olympiacos put four past Krasnodar Olympiacos have one foot into the UEFA Champions League group stage, after they crushed Russian side FC Krasnodar 4-0 in front of a sold-out crowd at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium on Wednesday night. The red-and-whites displayed a high level of concentration while defending their positions, never allowing their skilled yet inexperienced opponents to get too close to their goal. They also made the most of their counter attacks. Pedro Martins chose the same eleven players used over the last three games in the qualifiers against Viktoria Plzen and Istanbul Basaksehir, with Mathieu Valbuena taking charge of the game in midfield. On the other hand, the Russian side was counting on the inspiration of former Panathinaikos forward Marcus Berg, who had experience scoring goals on that specific ground. The game opened with the visitors having the upper hand. Krasnodar had the ball, yet they didn't really do much with it as the home side closed them down nicely. During the 11th minute, Brazilian winger Wanderson attempted a cross inside the area, yet it came off what appeared to be the body of Guillherme. The Russians appealed for a penalty, yet referee Del Olympic FC’s goal scorers Costa Psaros (L) and Chris Lucas (R) PHOTO: COURIER MAIL Cero denied the request after checking with the VAR (in its inaugural use in this specific stadium). Misfortune struck for the visitors key midfielder Remy Cabella during the 26th minute of the game after he was injured in his attempt to put pressure on the Olympiacos defence. He was eventually substituted for Swedish international Kristoffer Olsson. Four minutes later, the home side made the most of the confusion in their opponent's squad, with Miguel Angel Guerrero picking up the ball nicely outside the box and putting a curling ball past goalkeeper Matvei Safonov. The visiting team seemed to be in complete disarray, as Olympiacos continued to create chances up front with Daniel Podence and Valbuena, yet couldn't find a second, with the single goal separating the two teams at the end of the first 45 minutes. The image of the game carried into the second half, with Olympiacos waiting patiently in the back while Krasnodar was trying to find the gaps to exploit in their defence. Pedro Martins' players were in complete control of the rhythm, passing the ball around nicely and running the Russians around the pitch. The visitors then brought in the star of their last game against FC Porto, Magomed Suleymanov, however he missed a great opportunity just as soon as he was brought in. Marcus Berg had his own chance on the 67th minute, when he broke free of the Olympiacos defence but couldn't find the target, with his shot going wide of Sa's goal. But Olympiacos had their own wonderkid on their bench and Martins was prepared to give him a chance. On the 76th minute, Lazar Radjelovic came in to the pitch ready to make a difference for his team. Just two minutes later, the young Serbian scored his first official goal for the club, after his team broke on the counter and Valbuena attempted a great through ball, finding the 22-year-old alone in the box. As if that wasn't enough, Radjelovic added a third on the 86th, firing from outside the area with goalkeeper Safonov being fooled by the direction of the ball. The party had started for the Olympiacos fans in the stands and the cherry on top came from Daniel Podence, who chipped the ball on top of a helpless Safonov after a clever touch by Andreas Bouchalakis. Of course the 4-0 result pits the red-and-whites as clear favourites for next week's return game in Russia, with the club aiming to return to the Champions League group stage after last year's absence.
17 August 2019
31 August 2019