Sunday, 10 October 2010 4:30 PM
By John Kyrou (in Singapore)
South Melbourne FC was last night eliminated from the 2010 RHB Singapore Cup following a thrilling yet unlucky 3-3 draw against Bangkok Glass FC in the second leg of the Quarter Final at Jalan Besar Stadium. The draw meant that Bangkok Glass won the tie 6-4 on aggregate and now progress to the Semi Finals of the competition.
Eddie Krncevic kept the same starting line-up from the first leg and the Australian side started the more stronger of the two teams. Gianni De Nittis missed an excellent chance to give South an early lead but his shot from near the penalty spot trickled wide of Kittisak Rawangpa’s goal. Despite dominating possession and creating several half chances to open the scoring, South could not get the ball inside the net and they were made to pay dearly in the 27th minute, when a mix-up between goalkeeper Stefaan Sardelic and Rhodri Payne resulted in the ball falling easily for Chatree Chimtale to score the easiest of goals and give Bangkok Glass a 4-1 aggregate lead.
To the enormous credit of the South players, the whole team lifted instead of dropping their heads and gave the travelling South fans something to cheer about with a well taken goal minutes later. Daniel Vasilevski won the ball in midfield, darted into the penalty area and crossed the ball perfectly from the left side for De Nittis to head into an empty net at the back post. De Nittis had been outstanding in both matches playing off Jesse Krncevic up front and he won South a penalty just under 10 minutes before halftime after being clearly brought down in the penalty area. The ever reliable Fernando De Moraes sent Rawangpa the wrong way and incredibly South was 2-1 up on the night and 4-3 down on aggregate. Suddenly there was genuine belief that South could at a minimum send the tie into extra time, however hopes were crushed shortly before the halftime break when Chimtale was left unmarked in the area during a Bangkok corner and he headed a wonderful goal past Sardelic.
Ignoring the set-back of conceding two sloppy goals, South came out in the second half and played one of the most inspiring 45 minutes seen by an Australian team for many years. Despite the threat of fatigue and needing to chase goals, Eddie Krncevic persisted with the same line-up to begin the half. This decision proved to be the right one, as all eleven players on the field pushed themselves to the limit to create goal scoring opportunities. It was a complete contrast to the second half of the first leg on Tuesday night when South tired and Bangkok pounced to score three times. On this occasion it was all South and the Australian side kept knocking before finally scoring the goal they deserved in the 74th minute. A cross from the right side found De Nittis at the back post and he used his head to score past Rawangpa for a second time. South were now 3-2 up on the night and 5-4 down on aggregate, with 15 minutes and most importantly belief and confidence to try and score again.
The final 15 minutes threw up all sorts of drama, as South committed bodies forward to try and send the match into extra time. With ten minutes to go, Payne went on a trademark run down the left wing. He beat several Bangkok defenders and nutmegged another before sending a perfect cross into the area. The ball was only cleared as far as De Nittis at the back post and the forward – who was looking for his hat-trick – could not believe his misfortune when he fired a shot that beat Rawangpa but not one of his defenders, who cleared the ball off the line. South had come so close to pulling the aggregate scores level after being 4-1 down but were still a goal behind and with time running out.
South had left many gaps in defence as a result of throwing bodies forward and with five minutes to go the tie was over when Bangkok scored for a third time. Gbenga Ajayi, the star for Bangkok in the first leg but who had hardly being sighted in the second leg, received a cut-back from the right hand side and rounded Lukmon Anifaloyin before hitting a shot that deflected slightly off Steven O’Dor and past Sardelic. It was yet another cruel goal for South to concede and all but crushed any hopes of a miracle come-back. The full-time whistle was blown shortly after, confirming a 3-3 draw on the night and a 6-4 aggregate victory for the side from Thailand. South were out of the RHB Singapore Cup but had yet again put in another outstanding performance and had won alot of praise from both Singaporean and Thai football lovers.
Bangkok Glass FC coach Carlos Roberto de Carvalho praised South after the match, adding that “I am not happy with my team tonight. Our opponents set up very well and used their strengths…we are happy to get through but we need to do alot more work.” Eddie Krncevic also spoke glowingly of his players, noting that “we changed things tactically for tonight’s match and it worked. I thought we were the better side tonight and we were unlucky not to win. Bangkok Glass FC is a terrific side and it shows when they still score goals even if they are not playing well. Even though our team is semi-professional, we showed that we can match it with some of Asia’s best. Imagine if my players were full-time professionals”
South’s 2010 season is now officially over with both League and Cup commitments concluding. After a short break, the players will commence pre-season training over the summer ahead of the 2011 Victorian Premier League season.
FINAL SCORE: BANGKOK GLASS 3-3 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 2-2)
(Bangkok Glass FC wins 6-4 on aggregate)
Bangkok Glass FC
Kittisak Rawangpa (Klisana Klunklin 93′), Amnart Kaewkheaw, Supachai Komsilp, Panuwat Failai, Thanongsak Pajakkata, Sarun Promkeaw (Sutee Suksomkit 85′), Kunihiko Takizawa, Wichaya Dechmitr, Gbenga Ajayi, Paul Bekombo (Anawin Jujeen 80′), Chatree Chimtale
(Scorers: Chimtale 27′, 42′, Ajayi 85′)
South Melbourne FC
Stefaan Sardelic, Lukmon Anifaloyin, Rhodri Payne, Steven O’Dor, Rama Tavsancioglu (Kyle Joryeff 89′), Daniel Vasilevski, Carl Recchia, Fernando De Moraes, Marinos Gasparis, Gianni De Nittis, Jesse Krncevic
(Scorers: De Nittis 31′, 74′, De Moraes 37′ pk)
SMFC Man of the Match: Marinos Gasparis
Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
Date: Friday 8 October 2010