South Melbourne FC secured a 4-2 victory against Port Melbourne in a very entertaining match played at Lakeside Stadium last Friday night. Doubles from Milos Lujic and Nick Epifano won the three points for the home side and continued South’s pressure on League leaders Bentleigh Greens with only a few rounds remaining.
Adrian Zahra almost opened the scoring for Port Melbourne with a left-footed effort that beat Nikola Roganovic but not the crossbar, with the away side showing an early sign of intent. On the half hour mark however, Lujic opened the scoring with a textbook header from a wonderful Brad Norton cross from the left side. South looked to be cruising, however Nick Krousoratis got on the end of a through ball and tucked the ball past Roganovic to level the scores just before the halftime break.
Epifano restored South’s lead from the penalty spot just minutes after the break, after Leigh Minopoulos had been fouled in the area. Port Melbourne struck back almost immediately however, with Krousoratis getting his second goal of the night by heading the ball past Roganovic after the South custodian had initially saved his shot. Once again, South’s lead had been squandered.
Incredibly, the home side re-took the lead just minutes after the equalising goal, when another fantastic cross by Norton found an unmarked Lujic at the back post to score past goalkeeper Michael Stark. The game was then finished off with just over twenty minutes to play by Epifano, who got on the end of a fantastic through-ball from Minopoulos before slotting past the advancing Stark for his second goal of the night.
Lujic, playing his 50th League match for South Melbourne, should have had a hat-trick minutes later after finding himself one-on-one with Stark, however Port’s custodian made an excellent save to deny South a fifth goal. ‘Millsy’ has scored an incredible 38 League goals in 50 League games for South, with an overall record of 47 goals in 62 games across all competitions in just under two seasons at SMFC.
South’s 4-2 victory was made even more crucial with both Bentleigh and Heidelberg drawing their League matches this weekend. This means that South is now in outright second place on the ladder and two points clear of Heidelberg. It also means that South – with a game in hand and with a better goal difference than Bentleigh – is now just three points behind the Greens on the ladder.
It was further good news in the Under 20s as South Melbourne defeated Port Melbourne 3-0 thanks to second half goals from Gerry Kavadas, Giuseppe Marafioti (penalty kick) and Nashir Hussainy.
South’s next match is away against Avondale FC on Saturday 15 August. Kick-off is at 3pm at Doyle Street Reserve.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 4-2 PORT MELBOURNE (HT: 1-1)
1-0: Milos Lujic (30′)
1-1: Nick Krousoratis (44′)
2-1: Nick Epifano (48’p)
2-2: Nick Krousoratis (51′)
3-2: Milos Lujic (54′)
4-2: Nick Epifano (69′)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 5. Luke ADAMS, 7. Nick EPIFANO, 8. Mathew THEODORE (16. Andy BEVIN 89′), 9. Milos LUJIC (10. David STIRTON 89′), 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Iqi JAWADI, 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS (14. Chris IRWIN 75′), 77. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS.
Unused Subs: 22. Fraser MacLAREN (GK), 23. Andy KECOJEVIC.
Port Melbourne Sharks:
25. Michael STARK (GK), 3. James RICCOBENE, 4. Alan MULCAHY (17. Erhan YALAZ 78’), 5. George KROMMIDAS (16. Alan KEARNEY 63’), 7. Adrian ZAHRA, 10. Andrew MILICEVIC, 11. Nick KROUSORATIS, 14. Kamal IBRAHIM, 19. Shaun KELLY (C), 20. Julius DAVIES (22. Ryan OPPERMAN 46’) 23. Conor REDDAN.
Unused Subs: 1. Ben MORELLA (GK), 6. Chris GROSSMAN.
Fix Hells Beer Man of the Match: Brad Norton
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Friday 7 August 2015