South Melbourne FC is back in the national spotlight once more following a 6-1 FFA Cup demolition of Frankston Pines at Lakeside Stadium on Wednesday night.
The victory means that South will advance to the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 proper for the first time after missing out in 2014. It also gives South the chance to win a national Cup competition for the first time since defeating Newcastle Breakers 3-1 to win the old National League Cup in 1996.
Despite the lopsided scoreline on Wednesday night, State League One side Frankston were far from disgraced and caused South Melbourne trouble in the first half. In one of several opportunities in an impressive opening, the Pines had the ball in the back of the net after thirteen minutes, however the goal was disallowed for offside.
The home side had the chance to take the lead on the half hour mark when Nick Epifano was brought down in the box. Unfortunately for South, the usually reliable Milos Lujic had his penalty saved by Pines goalkeeper Kris McEvoy. It mattered little as Leigh Minopoulos capitalised on a defensive mix-up three minutes later to give South the lead.
Roles were reversed on the stroke of half-time, when Lujic won a penalty that Epifano stepped up to take. The in-form winger, who netted twice in the unforgettable victory against the Melbourne Knights in the previous round of the Cup, calmly slotted home to make the score 2-0 to the home side.
After a quiet opening to the second half, South scored three goals in the space of four minutes to all but end the contest.
Lujic nodded home from Epifano’s cross after 75 minutes, before substitute Andy Kecojevic scored a wonderful goal following a failed defensive clearance from Frankston. Lujic added his second of the night a couple of minutes later, with Iqi Jawadi then completing the rout by scoring his fifth goal of the season after a fantastic solo run.
With the match into injury time, Brad Blumenthal scored a consolation goal for a Frankston side that had enjoyed a very impressive Cup run in 2015 but that had ultimately ended for them at Lakeside Stadium.
As well as qualifying for the Westfield FFA Cup, South has also qualified for the Semi Finals of the Dockerty Cup and will be trying to win the Dockerty Cup for the first time since defeating the Melbourne Knights 3-1 in the 1995 final.
The draw for the FFA Cup Round of 32 will be broadcast live on FoxSports on Wednesday 1 July at 4pm.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 6-1 FRANKSTON PINES (HT: 2-0)
1-0: Leigh Minopoulos (33′)
2-0: Nick Epifano (43’p)
3-0: Milos Lujic (75′)
4-0: Andy Kecojevic (77′)
5-0: Milos Lujic (79′)
6-0: Iqi Jawadi (84′)
6-1: Brad Blumenthal (90+4′)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK), 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 6. Tom LAKIC, 11. Brad NORTON (19. Massimo PESCE 64’), 7. Nick EPIFANO, 9. Milos LUJIC, 12. Iqi JAWADI, 16. Andy BEVIN (23. Andy KECOJEVIC 55’), 20. Nick MORTON, 21. Jake BARKER-DAISH, 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS.
Unused Subs: 2. Tim MALA, 8. Matthew THEODORE, 22. Fraser MacLAREN (GK).
23. Kris McEVOY (GK), 2. Kyle CRAWFORD (5. Jordan AVRAHAM 33’), 4. Ilya DAVIDOV (13. Matthew HODGSON 72’), 6. Phil HAWKINS, 7. Grant LANE, 8. Michael HOOGENDYK, 9. Brad BLUMENTHAL, 10. Nick GIANNOPOULOS, 12. Paul MCEVOY, 15. Matthew HAMES (17. Ioasa SAEMO 58’), 18. Chris HODGSON.
Unused Subs: 1. Jordan MARSHALL, 3. Aidan VERDUN.
SMFC Fix Hellas Beer Man of the Match: Leigh Minopoulos
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Wednesday 17 June 2015