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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 21 September 2019
SPORT 26 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM NPL Australia: Heartbreak for Brisbane Olympic in the final Ben Cahn’s men weren’t able to hang on for a victory against the Gold Coast Knights, losing the Grand Final for a second consecutive season ALEX ANYFANTIS Most of the National Premier League (NPL) competitions across Australia have already come to an end, with only the final matches of the play-offs left. Among the very few teams that were able to stay alive throughout this difficult process were Brisbane Olympic, after shattering all expectations and advancing to the final thanks to a 1-2 win against the regional champions, Queensland Lions, a couple of weeks a go. Even their mere presence in the final was enough of a success, considering they had finished their regular season in fourth place, which is the last of those that provide access to the play-offs. Meaning that they were able to make it to the finals through the skin of their teeth. However, they weren't willing to be satisfied with just that, and considering they had been put in the same position last season (as they lost the trophy against the Lions again in the Grand Final), they wanted to take that extra step forward and be the ones to leave the pitch with a smile on their face. But it simply wasn't meant to be, as their opponents, the Gold Coast Knights, took the lead just after the first nine minutes of the encounter through Nicholas Panetta. The Olympic players tried to bounce back, but this early goal seemed to have taken a toll on their morale, as they just couldn't find ways to break down the opposition defence. Just before the two teams were about to head into the dressing rooms, a lifeline appeared for Olympic, as Knights forward Jarrod Kyle was dismissed from the game after a dangerous tackle on the feet of Steve Whyte. However that didn't prove sufficient for the team in red and white to come back into the game, as the lead was extended by a wonderfully struck free kick credit of Oskar Dillion. Having their hopes for the trophy dashed and watching the minutes going by like sand through an hourglass, the Olympic players realised they would remain without any silverware for yet another season. Panzer's late goal came as small consolation. All things considered, to advance to the final for a second consecutive year while also making it to the round of 32 of the FFA Cup makes their campaign quite successful. NPL QUEENSLAND FINAL RESULT Brisbane Olympic weren’t able to overcome the obstacle of the Gold Coast Knights. PHOTO: OLYMPIC FC Brisbane Olympic – Gold Coast Knights 1-2 (90’ Panzer – 9’ Panetta, 64’ Dillion, 45’+3’s.o. Kyle) Reds on track to reach Third FFA CUP final in a row early lead. GEORGE STOGIANNOU Reigning FFA Cup holders Adelaide United remains on course to make its third FFA Cup final in a row after progressing to the semi-finals with a 1-0 quarter final home win over fellow A-League team Newcastle Jets last Tuesday evening. The Reds were beneficiaries of goal keeping howlers which seemed to be a recurrent theme in this week's quarter-finals. The visiting Jets were reduced to 10 men early on when first choice keeper Lewis Italiano saw red early for a clumsy last man challenge outside the box which prevented the Reds taking an More calamitous was substitute keeper Glen Moss's failed attempt to make a regulation save of a long range effort. Instead of saving the shot, the ball slipped through Moss's hands allowing Adelaide's Al Hassan Toure the easiest of tap-ins for the match winner. United's semi- final opponent will be fellow A-League team Central Coast Mariners which left it until very late in their quarter final match against Victorian NPL club Hume City, to score an injury time winner. Just when it seemed the semi-professionals of Hume had held out to take the match to extra time, the Mariners scrambled home a stoppage time winner through Abraham Majok. Melbourne City keeper Dean Bouzanis kept a clean score sheet in the quarterfinal win over Western Sydney Wanderers. PHOTO: ZIMBIO Rounding out the three ALeague teams to progress to the semis is Melbourne City, whose 3-0 quarter – final win over Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday, was the most impressive of the four quarter final results. Another early goal keeping error proved pivotal in the game, with the Wanderers' keeper Lopar's misguided attempt to keep the ball in play gifting possession and a soft goal to new City signing Craig Noone. Noone's team mate Jamie MacLaren scored with a neat flick at the near post to double his team's lead before Noone completed the scoring and his brace late in the match. The win earns City a semi-final berth against the last remaining NPL club to reach the semis, Brisbane Strikers. The Strikers held off a late challenge from Melbourne NPL 2 club Moreland Zebras to win 3-2 at home on Wednesday evening. The Strikers will be a attempting to create history by becoming the first NPL club to break through the semi-final ceiling and make it all the way through to the FFA Cup Final. However it faces a steep step up in class when it hosts the full time professionals on Melbourne City. This is especially so given the Strikers have completed their season, and City is approaching peak fitness on the eve of the new A-League season.
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