South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

South Reach Grand Final in Comeback Classic

South Reach Grand Final in Comeback Classic

(Photo by Cindy Nitsos)

South Melbourne FC is through to a second consecutive NPL Victoria Grand Final thanks to a thrilling 2-1 win over Heidelberg United at the Olympic Village on Saturday night. Second-half goals from Matthew Millar and Milos Lujic secured the win for Chris Taylor’s side, who had to fight back from going a goal behind on the scoreboard from the opening minute.

South started the match in slow fashion and Heidelberg’s marquee striker Archie Thompson turned provider in the first twenty seconds of the game, crossing the ball for Sean Ellis to slam into the back of the net. Although the home side had the lead, South rallied and had numerous chances in the following twenty minutes but could not break down the stubborn Heidelberg defence.

The game turned in the 33rd minute when Reuben Way lashed out at Matthew Millar after the South player had conceded a free kick. Way was given his marching orders by the referee and the Bergers now had to see out the remaining 60 minutes with only ten men on the park.

South began the second half on the attack and almost levelled when Lujic headed the ball over the crossbar not long after the restart. Chris Irwin was introduced into the game on 67 minutes and made an immediate impact just minutes later, with his good work down the right flank culminating in Millar slamming a low drive into the bottom corner of the net to level proceedings.

With the away fans still in party mode, Lujic put South ahead only two minutes later to cause chaotic scenes of celebration in the stands. Matthew Foschini hit a long ball over the top of the Bergers defence for Lujic to out-sprint Steven Pace, latch onto the ball and chip it past the advancing goalkeeper Chris Theodoridis. The goal sent the huge travelling support into delirium as the South fans and players embraced at the fence.

South meets the Oakleigh Cannons in the Championship decider after Peter Tsolakis’ side comfortably defeated the Bentleigh Greens 3-1 in their semi final meeting on Sunday afternoon.

The Grand Final will kick off at 5:30pm this Sunday 11 September at Lakeside Stadium. South will be aiming to win its tenth Victorian State League championship to add to its four national titles.


Goal Scorers:
1-0: Sean Ellis (1′)
1-1: Matthew Millar (71′)
1-2: Milos Lujic (73′)

Heidelberg United FC:
1. Chris THEODORIDIS (GK), 2. Josh WILKINS, 3. Les DOUMBALIS, 7. Reuben WAY (sent off 33′), 8. Jack PETRIE, 10. Archie THOMPSON (11. Kosta KANAKARIS 69′), 12. Kenny ATHIU, 13. Luke BYLES (C), 14. Harry NOON (5. Phil PETRESKI 80′), 17. Steven PACE (6. Lewis HALL 76′), 19. Sean ELLIS.
Unused Subs: 15. Jordan WILKES, 23. Chris DAVIS (GK).

South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK) / 2. Tim MALA (14. Chris IRWIN 67′), 3. Kristian KONSTANTINIDIS, 5. Luke ADAMS, 11. Brad NORTON (C) / 23. Matthew FOSCHINI, 18. Matthew MILLAR / 17. Marcus SCHROEN, 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS, 7. Nick EPIFANO (77. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS 90+2′) / 9. Milos LUJIC.
Unused Subs: 4. Michael EAGAR, 21. Zaim ZENELI (GK), 22. Andy KECOJEVIC.

SMFC Melbourne City Toyota Man of the Match: Kristian Konstantinidis
Venue: Olympic Village
Date: Saturday 3 September 2016

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