(Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
South Melbourne FC remained in second place on the 2016 NPL Victoria ladder thanks to a 4-1 win over Pascoe Vale at CB Smith Reserve on Friday night.
Matthew Lazarides opened the scoring for the home side after getting behind the South defence and scoring one-on-one past Nikola Roganovic. South’s goalkeeper was called upon to keep his side from going 2-0 down when he saved another one-on-one opportunity shortly afterwards.
The match turned on its head after 38 minutes when Adam Nakic brought Leigh Minopoulos down in the penalty area to concede a penalty and get himself sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity. Goalkeeper Alexander Pavlidis saved Milos Lujic’s initial penalty but could not stop South’s centre-forward from scoring on the rebound. Three minutes later, Minopoulos split the Pascoe Vale defence open with a superb through-ball for Lujic to run onto and flick past the advancing Pavlidis to put South 1-2 ahead.
The match was well and truly over just before the hour mark when Pavlidis brought Lujic down in the area after South’s No9 dribbled past him, getting himself sent off and giving away a second penalty in the process. To add to the chaos, Pascoe Vale coach Vitale Ferrante was also given his marching orders by the referee, leaving the home side down to nine men on the park and without their senior coach on the bench for the remainder of the game.
Reserve goalkeeper Dennys Martin was brought on to replace Lazarides but was sent the wrong way from the penalty spot as Lujic completed his hattrick and scored his 23rd league goal of 2016. Incredibly, Pascoe Vale conceded a third penalty just minutes later but in a rare victory for the home side, Martin guessed the right way and tipped Nick Epifano’s effort onto the post.
With such a comfortable lead and a two-man advantage, South created but wasted numerous chances to extend their lead. After missing an absolute sitter just minutes earlier, Marcus Schroen scored arguably the best individual goal of the night in injury time, hitting a low drive from the left side of the area that flew across Martin and into the far corner of the net.
There was further good news in the Under 20s as South Melbourne came from 2-1 down to defeat Pascoe Vale 4-3. Giordano Marafioti scored a double, with South’s other goals coming from Nashir Hussainy and a Pascoe Vale own goal.
South can wrap up second spot on the NPL Victoria ladder with a draw against Green Gully in its final home & away match of 2016 at Lakeside Stadium next Sunday.
FINAL SCORE: PASCOE VALE 1-4 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 1-2)
1-0: Matthew Lazarides (19′)
1-1: Milos Lujic (39′)
1-2: Milos Lujic (42′)
1-3: Milos Lujic (62’p)
1-4: Marcus Schroen (90+2′)
Pascoe Vale FC:
35. Alexander PAVLIDIS (GK – sent off 58′), 2. Adrian TALARICO, 3. Gonzalo MUNOZ, 4. Adam NAKIC (sent off 38′), 8. Joseph YOUSSEF (C), 10. Davey VAN’T SCHIP (15. Mark PISTININZI 42′), 13. Matthew LAZARIDES (1. Dennys MARTIN 59′), 16. Tomislav MILARDOVIC, 21. Michael FERRANTE (17. Aaron TURNER 55′), 24. Mustapha QUANYNOR, 25. Marinos GASPARIS.
Unused Subs: 7. Luca SANTILLI, 20. Luka PRELEVIC.
South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK) / 2. Tim MALA, 3. Kristian KONSTANTINIDIS, 5. Luke ADAMS, 11. Brad NORTON (C) / 77. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS (4. Michael EAGAR 80′), 18. Matthew MILLAR / 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS, 17. Marcus SCHROEN, 7. Nick EPIFANO (22. Andy KECOJEVIC 73′) / 9. Milos LUJIC (14. Chris IRWIN 85′).
Unused Subs: 12. Amadu KOROMA, 21. Zaim ZENELI (GK).
SMFC Melbourne City Toyota Man of the Match: Leigh Minopoulos
Venue: CB Smith Reserve
Date: Friday 12 August 2016