Wednesday, 6 October 2010 5:02 PM
By John Kyrou (in Singapore)
South Melbourne FC lost the first leg of its RHB Singapore Cup Quarter Final 1-3 to Bangkok Glass FC on Tuesday evening at Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore. Despite taking an early lead through Daniel Vasilevski in the first half, South tired considerably in the second half and were eventually overrun by a very impressive Bangkok side, which has a huge advantage leading into the second leg.
With the unavailability of Joe Keenan and Sebastian Petrovic, on top of the departures of Peter Zois and Joseph Youssef, new coach Eddie Krncevic decided to show faith and reward several Under-21 players by promoting them to the Senior Team. Stefaan Sardelic was elevated to first-choice goalkeeper, whilst new signings Lukmon Anifaloyin and Jesse Krncevic were given starts.
With the match technically being a South Melbourne FC ‘home’ match, but with the away goals rule not being applicable over the two legs, coach Krncevic began the match with an extremely attacking line-up, deploying Jesse Krncevic, Gianni De Nittis and Fernando De Moraes up front, with Daniel Vasilevski pushing up for support. The decision looked to have paid off when a lovely build-up culminated in Krncevic teeing a shot up for Vasilevski on the edge of the area and the midfielder hit a beautifully struck left-footed shot past Bangkok goalkeeper Klisana Klunklin’s near post for the opening goal of the match.
South were certainly the better side of the first half but despite being comfortable on the ball and in possession were unable to add to their lead. Krncevic looked to have been pushed in the back in the penalty area by his Bangkok marker, but despite the penalty appeals by several South players, referee Abas Daud waved play on. The Thai side had become increasingly frustrated at being beaten by the Australian side and began making a number of strong physical challenges. One particular crunching two-footed tackle by Wichaya Dechmitr on Anifaloyin saw the Bangkok player very fortunate not to be given a straight red card by referee Daud. Bangkok eventually slowly crept into the match in the final ten minutes of the first half and South were grateful when Sardelic produced an excellent fingertip save to prevent being lobbed just before halftime.
The second half was a complete opposite of the first, with Bangkok completely on top and punishing South accordingly. The more the match went on, the more exhausted the South players became. Anifaloyin, who had been magnificent in his debut match for South, was extremely fortunate not to give away a penalty after bringing down his Bangkok opponent. Luckily for South, referee Daud waved play on. The turning point of the match arrived when Gbeng Ajayi was introduced off the bench. Sarun Promkeaw had been an earlier substitute and the two players combined immediately with devasting effect. Promkeaw equalised when he smashed home a cut-back from the left side, leaving Sardelic with no chance. Ten minutes later, Ajayi was given far too much room on the right side and he waltzed into the area before beating Sardelic at his near post. The scoring was wrapped up in the 82nd minute after some dazzling work on the left side by Ajayi, who completely turned Anifaloyin inside out before crossing the ball from the byline and finding Chatree Chimtale, who had no problem in heading the ball into the net. Bangkok had many opportunities to add to their lead but a combination of poor finishing and excellent defending meant the final scoreline remained 1-3.
Despite a two goal deficit, South coach Eddie Krncevic was upbeat after the match, mentioning that “I saw many positives despite the loss….we played many younger players tonight and they will be much better for the experience. Football is a very funny game, who knows what will happen in the second leg…now it is all about recovery and looking forward to Friday night’s match.” With the away goals rule not counting, Krncevic acknowledged that South is still in with a chance of progressing despite the difficult task at hand. “We have to congratulate our opponent. Bangkok Glass FC is an excellent side with good technical players. We gave it our best shot tonight but it just goes to show the difference between full-time professional players and semi-professional. Having said that, it’s only halftime over the two legs and we will go away and focus on the positives, work on the negatives and be ready for it all again on Friday.”
The second leg is also at Jalan Besar Stadium and kicks off at 19:45 Singapore time (22:45 Melbourne time) on Friday night. Once again, South Melbourne FC is proud to announce that live audio commentary of the match will be available on smfc.com.au.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 1-3 BANGKOK GLASS (HT: 1-0)
Stefaan Sardelic, Lukmon Anifaloyin, Rhodri Payne (Bradley Treloar 80′), Steven O’Dor, Rama Tavsancioglu, Daniel Vasilevski, Carl Recchia, Marinos Gasparis (Dimitri Vithoulkas 84′), Fernando De Moraes, Gianni De Nittis, Jesse Krncevic (Kyle Joryeff 77′)
(Scorer: Vasilevski 20′)
Klisana Klunklin, Amnart Kaewkheaw, Supachai Komsilp, Panuwat Failai, Thanongsak Pajakkata, Anawin Jujeen (Gbenga Ajayi 54′), Kunihiko Takizawa, Peeraphong Pichitchotirat (Sarun Promkeaw 25′), Wichaya Dechmitr, Paul Bekombo (Sutee Suksomkit 87′), Chatree Chimtale
(Scorers: Promkeaw 60’, Ajayi 70’, Chimtale 82’)
SMFC Man of the Match: Jesse Krncevic
Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
Date: Tuesday 5 October 2010