South Melbourne FC further consolidated top spot on the PS4 NPL Victoria ladder following an excellent 5-2 victory over the Melbourne Knights in the original Melbourne derby on Friday night. Milos Lujic and Matthew Millar both scored doubles whilst centre-half Luke Adams scored the other goal to win the three points at Knights Stadium.
It was just over 25 years to the day that the two sides faced off in one of the most dramatic domestic Grand Finals of all time. Friday night’s game provided plenty of highlights in the latest chapter of the derby, with five goals in the first half, a red card and seven goals overall in the match. It was the second of two consecutive successful Friday night visits to Knights Stadium for South, with the goal of two wins achieved.
Like in the 1991 Grand Final, it was the Knights that took the lead on Friday night, when Jacob Colosimo got on the end of Stipo Andrijasevic’s cross to head the ball past Nikola Roganovic in only the third minute of the game. South were behind on the scoreboard for only five minutes before Lujic met Marcus Schroen’s cross to score past Knights goalkeeper Michael O’Farrell with a perfect header to level proceedings and give the derby an explosive start.
Chris Taylor’s side then took the lead three minutes later when an initial Schroen shot deflected off a Knights defender, hit the post and rebounded fortuitously to the incoming Millar, who beat Anthony Katiforis to the ball before scoring from close range. South only had the lead for ten minutes before Andrew Marth’s men drew level thanks to an unmarked James McGarry header from yet another excellent Andrijasevic cross that gave Roganovic no chance.
The first half had been an end-to-end affair, with both sides having numerous chances to score more goals. Roganovic stood tall and made a near-post block as the Knights pressed to take the lead again. O’Farrell denied Lujic at the near post and then the Knights had to scramble to clear the ball off the goal line from an Adams header as South started to gain some control.
Shortly before the halftime break, Nikola Jurkovic’s attempted pass forward was intercepted by Brad Norton, who found some space on the left side of the box before firing a perfect low cross for an unmarked Lujic to tap home his second of the night from close range. South could have gone into the sheds even further ahead had O’Farrell not produced an excellent save with his leg to deny Nick Epifano. Schroen also hit a stinging shot that went just wide of the goal.
The match swung further into South’s favour on the hour mark when Epifano – who was just inside his own half – latched onto Schroen’s ball over the top of the Knights defence and sprinted towards goal before being brought down just outside the area by defender Damien Miskulin, who was given his marching orders by the referee as the last defender. Miskulin’s sacrifice was justified when O’Farrell palmed Schroen’s resulting free kick over the crossbar to keep the ten-man Knights just a goal behind on the scoreboard.
The three points were secured with a further two goals in the space of two minutes. On 79 minutes, Adams beat O’Farrell to Schroen’s in-swinging corner and headed into the empty net before South regained possession from the kickoff and streamed forward again against a three-man Knights defence. The ball eventually fell for Millar to score his second of the night despite the best efforts of Joshua Brekalo to clear the ball off the line.
In the Under 20s match played prior to the Seniors, Melbourne Knights and South Melbourne played out a 1-1 draw. Charly Layton scored South’s only goal after 7 minutes.
South returns to Lakeside Stadium next Friday night when it hosts Pascoe Vale. Kick-off is at 8:30pm.
FINAL SCORE: MELBOURNE KNIGHTS 2-5 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 2-3)
1-0: Jacob Colosimo (3′)
1-1: Milos Lujic (8′)
1-2: Matthew Millar (11′)
2-2: James McGarry (21′)
2-3: Milos Lujic (43′)
2-4: Luke Adams (79′)
2-5: Matthew Millar (80′)
Melbourne Knights FC:
1. Michael O’FARRELL (GK), 5. Milan BATUR (C), 6. Damien MISKULIN (sent off 60′), 8. James McGARRY (10. Marijan CVITKOVIC 71′), 9. Jacob COLOSIMO, 11. Nikola JURKOVIC (2. Luke JURCIC 81′), 13. Anthony KATIFORIS (17. Robbie ZADWORNY 64′), 16. Jason HICKS, 18. Joshua BREKALO, 19. Nick GLAVAN, 21. Stipo ANDRIJASEVIC.
Unused Subs: 12. Anthony DEZIC, 20. Hrvoje CARAKUN (GK).
South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK) / 12. Amadu KOROMA, 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 5. Luke ADAMS, 11. Brad NORTON / 23. Matthew FOSCHINI, 8. Mathew THEODORE (99. Iqi JAWADI 83′) / 17. Marcus SCHROEN (77. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS 90′), 18. Matthew MILLAR, 7. Nick EPIFANO (14. Chris IRWIN 76′) / 9. Milos LUJIC.
Unused Subs: 21. Zaim ZENELI (GK), 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS.
SMFC Melbourne City Toyota Man of the Match: Amadu Koroma
Venue: Knights Stadium
Date: Friday 6 May 2016