By George Kouroumalis (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
South Melbourne FC was eliminated from the 2014 Dockerty Cup after being defeated 0-2 by the Melbourne Knights in their Quarter Final derby on Wednesday evening at Lakeside Stadium. With the match also acting as a qualifier for the inaugural FFA Cup, it was the Knights that ultimately qualified for the tournament at South’s expense.
Chris Taylor’s side started the game positively as Leigh Minopoulos went close to scoring on two occasions, firstly when his long speculative drive hit the crossbar and secondly when he was just unable to finish off some fantastic interplay after linking up well with Nick Epifano. The Knights also missed a great chance when new signing Stipo Andrijasevic hit a shot just wide of the target from six yards out. The deadlock was broken in the 41st minute when Andrijasevic latched onto the loose ball before parting a lacklustre South defence to find Tomislav Uskok unmarked in the area. With only South goalkeeper Jason Saldaris to beat, Uskok buried the ball into the back of the net to send the away supporters into delirium. Andrew Marth’s side continued to dominate play after the goal as Daniel Visevic almost doubled their advantage minutes later, however he was denied thanks to a solid save by Saldaris.
South fans demanded a response from their team in the second half but instead it was the Knights who came out of the blocks full of confidence. Andrijasevic missed yet another golden chance to get on the scoresheet from close range. It didn’t matter because moments later he set Shayan Alinjad on his way as the midfielder used his pace to speed past a non-existent South defence before getting onto the score sheet and doubling the Knights’ lead. From there, the Knights were happy to sit back and absorb the pressure as South tried to get back into the match but ultimately did not force Chris May to make a meaningful save in the Knights goal. The Knights nearly had a third goal when Leo Athanasiou’s drive was saved well by Jason Saldaris after the goalkeeper had been badly exposed by his defence again.
The full-time whistle confirmed the Melbourne Knights’ return to the national stage since the demise of the old National Soccer League in 2004 and eliminated South from both the Dockerty Cup and from qualifying for the Westfield FFA Cup this season. Whilst the loss is a bad blow to South, it allows the team to now solely focus maintaining its four-point lead at the top of the National Premier League Victoria when it hosts Port Melbourne at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Kick-off is at 5PM.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 0-2 MELBOURNE KNIGHTS (HT: 0-1)
0-1: Tomislav Uskok (42′)
0-2: Shayan Alinejad (58′)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Jason SALDARIS (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 7. Nick EPIFANO (17. Jamie REED 54′), 8. Mathew THEODORE (15. Kobbie BOAHENE 73′), 9. Milos LUJIC, 10. Tyson HOLMES (6. Dimi TSIARAS 73′), 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Iqi JAWADI (18. Dion KIRK 77′), 14. James MUSA, 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS.
1. Christopher MAY (GK), 3. Sam TORRENS (11. Nikola SRBINOVSKI 90+3’), 4. Ben SUREY, 5. Milan BATUR, 6. Tomislav USKOK, 7. Daniel VISEVIC, 8. Leo ATHANASIOU (17. Jordan O’DOHERTY 72’), 9. Stipo ANDRIJASEVIC (10. Marijan CVITKOVIC 89’), 12. Ivan GRGIC, 14. Michael DOYLE (13. Antun KOVACIC 79’), 19. Shayan ALINEJAD.
SMFC Man of the Match: Leigh Minopoulos
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Wednesday 25 June 2014