South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

South Suffer Second Successive Defeat

South Suffer Second Successive Defeat

(Photo by Cindy Nitsos)

The Oakleigh Cannons continued their excellent recent form with a tough 4-3 win over a gallant ten-man South Melbourne FC at Jack Edwards Reserve on Sunday night.

Kristian Konstantinidis returned to the first team for the first time since suffering an injury against Avondale on 29 April. His comeback was only twelve minutes old before he was given his marching orders by referee Lucien Laverdure after bringing down Dean Piemonte as he was through on goal. The decision was correct, however it appeared that the linesman had missed an earlier offside call just prior to the red card. From the resulting free kick, former South junior Dusan Bosnjak hit a superb free kick over the wall and past Nikola Roganovic for the opening goal to continue his excellent 2016 season.

South fought back and were 2-1 ahead by the half hour mark. Nine minutes after Bosnjak’s goal, Milos Lujic pounced on a poor back-pass by Perry Lambropoulos and was cleaned up by Oakleigh captain and goalkeeper John Honos after trying to dribble the ball past him. As the fans were screaming for Honos to receive a red card and for Lujic to be awarded a penalty, the ball deflected off Steve Pantelidis and rolled into the empty net to draw South level.

On the half hour mark, Leigh Minopoulos intercepted another poor defensive pass – this time by Aron Wilford – and cooly slotted past the advancing Honos to give South the lead. The home side were back on level terms deep into first half injury time when another former South player Dimitri Hatzimouratis – who scored against South when the sides met earlier this season at Lakeside Stadium – got in between Roganovic and captain Michael Eagar to head Oakleigh and make the score 2-2 at the break.

Matthew Foschini had to be subbed at halftime after injuring himself late in the first half, meaning that South played the entirety of the second half with ten men and only two recognised defenders. Oakleigh looked to have finally taken advantage of this when two goals in three minutes saw them race to a 4-2 lead by 65 minutes. Bosnjak got on the end of a cut-back by Hatzimouratis to finish nicely past Roganovic on 62 minutes and then three minutes later substitute Sean Lovemore – who had only been on the field for five minutes –  weaved his way past several South players before making it 4-2 and seemingly game over.

South bravely fought back again and when Nick Epifano slipped the ball through for Lujic to go one-on-one with Honos, Pantelidis brought the big striker down as he went to shoot. South were furious that Pantelidis only received a caution in a situation that seemed a replica of the one that had seen Konstantinidis given his marching orders earlier in the game. Honos dived the wrong way as Lujic rolled the ball into the bottom right corner to give South a lifeline.

It wasn’t enough though and the Cannons recorded a 4-3 win in a very entertaining match for neutral observers. South are now five points behind first-placed Bentleigh and surely must now need to win all five of their remaining matches to have any chance of winning the Premier’s Plate. Of concern also is the fact that Heidelberg are now only two points behind South, with Oakleigh only four points behind.

In the Under 20s match played following the conclusion of the seniors, Nashir Hussainy scored a second half hat-trick as South Melbourne defeated Oakleigh 3-1.

There is no room for error now as South simply must defeat the Melbourne Victory NPL team in its next match to keep a distance from Heidelberg and Oakleigh and try to reduce the margin at the top of the table.


Goal Scorers:
1-0: Dusan Bosnjak (14′)
1-1: Steve Pantelidis Own Goal (23′)
1-2: Leigh Minopoulos (30′)
2-2: Dimitri Hatzimouratis (45+2′)
3-2: Dusan Bosnjak (62′)
4-2: Sean Lovemore (65′)
4-3: Milos Lujic (72’p)

Oakleigh Cannons FC:
15. John HONOS (GK) (C), 4. Dominic D’ANGELO, 5. Aron WILFORD, 6. Ioannis GEORGOPOULOS (2. Adriano CHIAPPETTA 86′), 8. Dusan BOSNJAK, 10. Dean PIEMONTE, 11. Dimitri HATZIMOURATIS, 16. Anthony RIZK, 18. Steve PANTELIDIS, 19. Goran ZORIC, 26. Perry LAMBROPOULOS (7. Sean LOVEMORE 60′).
Unused Subs: 1. Evan KRALOGLOU (GK), 14. Konstantinos STRATOMITROS, 21. Abdalla OKUD.

South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK) / 3. Kristian KONSTANTINIDIS (sent off 12′), 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 23. Matthew FOSCHINI (99. Iqi JAWADI 46′), 12. Amadu KOROMA / 77. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS (14. Chris IRWIN 83′), 18. Matthew MILLAR / 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS, 17. Marcus SCHROEN, 7. Nick EPIFANO / 9. Milos LUJIC.

SMFC Melbourne City Toyota Man of the Match: Leigh Minopoulos
Venue: Jack Edwards Reserve
Date: Sunday 17 July 2016

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