(Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
South Melbourne FC returned to second place on the PS4 NPL Victoria ladder following a 2-1 derby win over the Melbourne Knights at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Matthew Millar scored the winning goal with six minutes of regular time remaining as Chris Taylor’s side completed a league double over the Knights in 2016.
Several milestones were achieved in this match. Nick Epifano registered his 100th appearance for South in all competitions and goalkeeper Nikola Roganovic made his 50th league appearance for the club. In what was a fairly tame first half with few chances, Brad Norton found space inside the penalty area on the left side before cutting the ball back for centre-forward Milos Lujic to tap home for his 20th league goal of 2016. Lujic has scored 20 goals or more in each of the three league seasons he has represented South since signing for the club at the start of 2014.
Damien Miskulin was given his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card on the hour mark. Ironically, the same player was sent off at around the same time in the earlier derby meeting between the sides at Knights Stadium back in May. Despite going a man down, the Knights levelled with a goal from a free only minutes later. The defensive wall jumped and James McGarry hit a low shot under the wall and past Roganovic.
The Knights could now sit back and frustrate South, who created but wasted several opportunities to go ahead. The home side finally broke through the stubborn Knights defence on 84 minutes when Marcus Schroen’s cross found the head of the incoming Millar to score past Fraser Chalmers and give South a very valuable three points.
There was further good news in the Under 20s as South Melbourne beat the Melbourne Knights 6-0. Nashir Hussainy scored a hattrick and there were further goals to Giordano Marafioti, Brandon Jansz and substitute Peter Tsetinis.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 2-1 MELBOURNE KNIGHTS (HT: 1-0)
1-0: Milos Lujic (42′)
1-1: James McGarry (64′)
2-1: Matthew Millar (84′)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK) / 18. Matthew MILLAR, 5. Luke ADAMS, 3. Kristian KONSTANTINIDIS, 11. Brad NORTON (C) / 23. Matthew FOSCHINI, 77. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS / 15. Manuel HERRERO (27. Leigh MINOPOULOS 75′), 17. Marcus SCHROEN, 7. Nick EPIFANO / 9. Milos LUJIC.
Unused Subs: 2. Tim MALA, 12. Amadu KOROMA, 14. Chris IRWIN, 21. Zaim ZENELI (GK).
Melbourne Knights FC:
20. Fraser CHALMERS (GK), 5. Milan BATUR, 6. Damien MISKULIN (sent off 60′), 7. Shayan ALINEJAD (14. Caleb MIKULIC 85′), 8. James McGARRY (13. Anthony KATIFORIS 89′), 9. Jacob COLOSIMO (2. Luke JURCIC 75′), 12. Anthony DEZIC, 16. Jason HICKS, 19. Nick GLAVAN, 21. Stipo ANDRIJASEVIC (C), 23. Tim PURCELL.
Unused Subs: 1. Hrvoje CAKARUN (GK).
SMFC Melbourne City Toyota Man of the Match: Matthew Millar
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Sunday 7 August 2016