South Melbourne FC secured a third straight victory by defeating the Oakleigh Cannons 4-1 at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday evening. Chris Taylor’s men scored two goals in each half to comfortably win and continue a perfect 2016 home record of three wins from three matches.
With three matches in seven days (Oakleigh on 17 April, Altona Magic on 20 April, Melbourne Victory on 24 April), Taylor made two changes to the starting eleven that defeated the Bentleigh Greens last Sunday. Captain Michael Eagar and Leigh Minopoulos both started against Oakleigh, replacing Tim Mala and Marcus Schroen respectively. Schroen was completely rested ahead of the upcoming matches this week.
South got off to the perfect start after only eight minutes when centre-forward Milos Lujic got on the end of Brad Norton’s cross to head the ball back across goalkeeper John Honos and into the back of the net. The home side extended its lead on the half hour mark, when Matthew Millar took advantage of Oakleigh’s high defensive line to out-sprint the defence before tucking the ball to the right of Honos and into the back of the net. Shortly before the halftime break, Taylor was sent from the bench by the referee after disputing an earlier handball in the penalty area by an Oakleigh defender.
Peter Tsolakis’ Oakleigh side got themselves back into the match early in the second half when former South man Dimitri Hatzimouratis tucked away a cross from the right by-line from Goran Zoric. The comeback was short-lived though as Minopoulos – making his first league start in 2016 – headed home from a corner just three minutes later to restore South’s two-goal cushion.
The scoring was completed on 68 minutes when Honos parried a Lujic shot straight into the path of Minopoulos, who had no problems putting the ball into the unguarded net. The home side had several other opportunities to increase their lead but a combination of poor finishing and Honos saves kept the final score to 4-1. Oakleigh’s afternoon was made worse in injury time when defender John Black was given his marching orders.
It was further good news in the Under 20s as Andy Kecojevic scored a hattrick to secure a 3-2 win for Brian MacNicol’s South Melbourne side against the Oakleigh Cannons. The Under 20s have now recorded six wins and two draws from their opening eight matches and have been playing excellent football.
South only has a few days to recover before travelling to Paisley Park for the first time since 2010 to play State League One side Altona Magic in the Fifth Round of the FFA Cup. The match will be played on Wednesday night with kick-off at 7:30pm.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 4-1 OAKLEIGH CANNONS (HT: 2-0)
1-0: Milos Lujic (8′)
2-0: Matthew Millar (30′)
2-1: Dimitri Hatzimouratis (50′)
3-1: Leigh Minopoulos (53′)
4-1: Leigh Minopoulos (68′)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK) / 3. Kristian KONSTANTINIDIS (2. Tim MALA 73′), 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 5. Luke ADAMS, 11. Brad NORTON / 23. Matthew FOSCHINI, 8. Mathew THEODORE (6. Filtzgerald MBAKA 78′) / 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS, 18. Matthew MILLAR (77. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS 86′), 7. Nick EPIFANO / 9. Milos LUJIC.
Unused Subs: 14. Chris IRWIN, 21. Zaim ZENELI (GK).
Oakleigh Cannons FC:
15. John HONOS (GK) (C), 3. John BLACK (sent off 90+1′), 4. Dominic D’ANGELO (5. Aron WILFORD 81′), 6. Ioannis GEORGOPOULOS (17. Joshua FRAME 73′), 8. Dusan BOSNJAK, 10. Dean PIEMONTE (23. Ali HAMEED 68′), 11. Dimitri HATZIMOURATIS, 12. Steven TOPALOVIC, 18. Steve PANTELIDIS, 19. Goran ZORIC, 26. Perry LAMBROPOULOS.
Unused Subs: 1. Evan KRALOGLOU (GK), 16. Tom LAKIC.
SMFC Melbourne City Toyota Man of the Match: Matthew Foschini
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Sunday 17 April 2016