A winner deep into injury time from Milos Lujic has seen South Melbourne FC triumph 3-2 in an epic mid-week clash against Green Gully at Lakeside Stadium on Tuesday night.
Lujic’s goal, combined with David Stirton’s stunning first half brace, gave South its first win in three outings, following home defeats to Bentleigh and Heidelberg over the past fortnight. The victory moves the defending PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria Champions to just a point behind League leaders Bentleigh.
Stirton opened the scoring after eleven minutes with a smart finish from a sensational team move. He swivelled in the box then hit a well-placed shot past Rani Dowisha for his first League goal since 12 May.
South were wary of the attacking threat posed by the visitors, following Gully producing one of the upsets of the season to defeat the Bentleigh Greens 4-0 last Saturday. Former Oakleigh striker Liam Boland pounced on a cross from Matthew Breeze to put the ball past Nikola Roganovic to level the scores after twenty minutes at Lakeside Stadium.
Stirton restored the home side’s lead just a couple of minutes later with one of the goals of the season. After taking a corner that was cleared straight back to him, Stirton launched a powerful and unexpected strike on the half volley from an acute angle that crossed the line despite Dowisha’s desperate attempts to clear the ball.
Gully levelled the scores early into the second half when Evan Christodoulou raced onto a through ball before striking the ball across Roganovic and into the bottom corner of the net.
The match was an open affair and another goal always looked likely, with Gully appearing the more probable to win the match with dangerous counter-attacking.
With the match into a second minute of second half injury time, Leigh Minopoulos slipped the ball through for Lujic to find the back of the net and send the crowd at Lakeside Stadium into raptures. The goal was no more than Lujic deserved, after the big man had competed ferociously throughout the night. It was his thirteenth League goal in 2015 and his eighteenth goal across all competitions this season.
There were similar dramatic scenes in the Under 20s, as South Melbourne came from 0-3 down to win 4-3 thanks to a last minute winning goal. South’s goal scorers were (in order) Simon Sesay, Giuseppe Marafioti (penalty), Gerry Kavadas and Nashir Hussainy.
South Melbourne FC’s next match is the original Melbourne derby against the Melbourne Knights at Knights Stadium this Sunday 12 July. Kick-off is at 3pm.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 3-2 GREEN GULLY (HT: 2-1)
1-0: David Stirton (11’)
1-1: Liam Boland (20’)
2-1: David Stirton (22’)
2-2: Evan Christodoulou (49’)
3-2: Milos Lujic (90+2’)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 8. Mathew THEODORE (16. Andy BEVIN 77’), 9. Milos LUJIC, 10. David STIRTON (23. Andy KECOJEVIC 68’), 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Iqi JAWADI, 14. Chris IRWIN, 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS, 77. Steve HATZIKOSTAS (21. Jake BARKER-DAISH 77’).
Unused Subs: 6. Tom LAKIC, 22. Fraser MacLAREN (GK).
Yellow Cards: Norton 44’, Jawadi 50’, Mala 65’, Irwin 84’.
23. Rani DOWISHA (GK), 2. Mathew REID, 4. Daniel JONES, 5. Rodrigo VARGAS (C), 9. Evan CHRISTODOULOU, 10. Rinor MURIQI (16. Simon TOLLI 39’), 11. Matthew BREEZE, 17. Alon BLUMGART, 20. Hakeem ALORAIBI, 21. Luc JEGGO (7. Liam SCOTT 59’), 38. Liam BOLAND.
Unused subs: 3. Aaron COHEN, 8. Tomas MURPHY, 12. Mitchell TRAJCEVSKI.
Yellow card(s): Jones 11’, Reid 29’, Christodoulou 47’, Scott 78’, Vargas 90’.
SMFC FIX Hellas Beer Man of the Match: David Stirton
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Tuesday 7 July 2015