The calm before the (thunder) storm. SMFC team photo before kick-off against Dandenong Thunder, George Andrews Reserve on Saturday 3 March 2018. (PHOTO: Smile for Peter).
South Melbourne FC won its first game of the 2018 season in devastating style, defeating promoted Dandenong Thunder 9-0 at George Andrews Reserve on Saturday night. A hattrick from Milos Lujic, doubles from Andy Brennan* and Nick Epifano and singles to Matthew Foschini and Leigh Minopoulos completed the rout.
South led 0-4 at the halftime break before scoring another five in the second half. To rub salt into the wounds, goalkeeper Sermin Sadikovski was sent off late in the match after the Thunder had used up their three substitutes. This meant they were forced to complete the match with veteran outfield player Veton Korcari in goal and in the process conceded the ninth and final goal of the night.
Another big positive was coach Sasa Kolman giving his former U20s champioship player Josh Hodes game time for the final 20 minutes of the match. Post-match, Hodes spoke with SMFCTV and shared his thoughts on the game. “It was good to be out there as it’s been a while since my last senior game [cup match against Monbulk in March 2017]. We had a big lead and Sasa just told me to go out there and have fun.”
Looking back into the history books, the 9-0 scoreline equalled South’s highest ever aggregate winning margin in league competition, having beaten Moonee Ponds 10-1 (at Middle Park on 30 April 1960) and Corio 9-0 (at Middle Park on 10 September 1960). South has also previously scored 9 goals in a league fixture against Melbourne University (9-1 at Middle Park on 9 April 1960) and Triestina (9-1 at Olympic Park on 25 July 1965).
In the Under 20s match played prior to the Seniors, South Melbourne defeated Dandenong Thunder 2-1 thanks to goals from Tristan Meaker and Luke Barforosh.
FINAL SCORE: DANDENONG THUNDER 0-0 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 0-4)
0-1: Andy Brennan (5′)
0-2: Milos Lujic (13′)
0-3: Nick Epifano (21’p)
0-4: Andy Brennan (35′)*
0-5: Milos Lujic (48’p)
0-6: Leigh Minopoulos (60′)
0-7: Matthew Foschini (78′)
0-8: Milos Lujic (80’p)
0-9: Nick Epifano (90+2′)
40. Sermin Sadikovski (GK) (sent off 89′), 6. Nicholas Modaffari (9. Veton Korcari 67′), 8. Theo Markelis, 10. Brandon Barnes, 12. Brendan Elmazovski (c), 13. Hamish Millar, 14. Zois Galanopoulos, 15. Mersim Memeti, 18. Samuel Catherine, 20. Sevdim Ismaili (19. Nicholas Glavan 46′), 21. Christopher Dib (11. Godfrey Okello 46′).
Unused Substitutes: 1. Noah Calamatta (GK), 16. Nashir Hussainy.
Yellow Cards: Dib 21′, Catherine 37′, Millar 48′.
1. Keegan Coulter (GK) / 23. Matthew Foschini, 3. Kristian Konstantinidis, 39. Christos Intzidis, 11. Brad Norton (c) / 12. Iqi Jawadi (8. Luke Pavlou 55′), 18. Matthew Millar / 17. Andy Brennan (16. Josh Hodes 72′), 7. Nick Epifano, 27. Leigh Minopoulos (19. Oliver Minatel 63′) / 9. Milos Lujic.
Unused Substitutes: 20. Adjin Fetahagic, 21. Amir Jashari.
Yellow Cards: Epifano 32′, Foschini 58′.
*The referee’s official match report credited Andy Brennan for a second goal in the 35th minute, however SMFC TV replays have shown the goal was an own goal.