Suns coach Lee Sterrey used this match as good preparation for their huge derby clash against staunch rivals Bankstown City FC this Saturday evening at the same venue and the players did not disappoint in what was a good showing by Rockdale.
For Sydney, it was a good encounter to continue its preparations for the Asian Champions League with their next AFC match set for the Sydney Football Stadium on Wednesday 6th April against Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua (8pm kick-off).
Sydney FC started with a host of their star players with the likes of Bruno Cazarine, David Williams, Nick Carle and Mark Bridge to name a few while the Suns fielded a fairly strong squad with skipper Peter Apoleski, former Newcastle Jets youth stars Jason Naidovski and Steve Veleski and ex-Sydney FC National Youth League player Giorgio Speranza in the starting line-up.
The match was 0-0 at half-time but it was the second half where all the action hit fever pitch as Sydney FC struck first via former Sydney Olympic youngster Dimitri Petratos in the 76th minute.
Petratos pounced and hit a decisive volley after a defensive mix-up in the Suns back-line which led to the Sky Blues? first goal.
Drama struck though during extra-time as the Suns faithful had something to cheer about when Sash Tirovski played a neat ball to Marino Musumeci who tapped in from close range after a blunder in the Sydney FC defence that led to the home team?s equaliser.
Overall a fantastic hit-out for Sydney FC while the Suns put on a good display in front of a healthy crowd at Rockdale.
-By Mark Stavroulakis
Archives for March 2011
?I haven?t played a full match for about two months now so I?m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and doing my best for the Sharks.?
Playing a couple of seasons, albeit with very short breaks during the previous NSW State League campaigns, has surely seen a number of changes both for and in the lad and he readily admits this is the case: ?The pace of the game is faster in the A-League and physically and mentally tougher so I have been hardened to a higher standard for want of a better term but being back at Sutherland is like coming home really as most of the players are still here and I just want to do my best for the team and let the A-League side of things sort themselves out so I can concentrate on my football.
?I hope I can impose the experience in games I?ve learnt and adopt the same attitude to matches I?ve always had hopefully carry on in the right manner.?
The differences are plain to see going from part-time football to full-time training although missing the better part of the 1st half of the A-League season has inured a discipline that has seen him put on a little more muscle and in pre-season games shown a quicker reaction time, better reading of the game and not a little extra pace: ?Yeah, full-time training certainly quickens you up and physically and mentally makes you sharper so hopefully I can put that to good use.?
Sutherland Sharks took on another powerhouse NSW Premier League side and reigning Champions in Blacktown City for the season opener at Seymour Shaw Park and he wasn?t about to underestimate them: ?They are always a hard team to play and have lost a couple of players and with a new coach they are unlikely to be any easier to beat this season than any other and we are usually quite slow starters but we?ll look for the three points and if we do the right things we can certainly get them but I am expecting a tough first game back.?
The match however went the home side?s way with Nikas playing an influential role alongside the likes of Nick Stavroulakis, Jim Bakis, Matt Bailey and Sam Awad with a 2-1 victory at the Sharks palace.
Nikas, for all the ups and downs of A-League experiences during the last two summers, has returned the same level headed and delightful young man he has always been and that surely goes down to his parents who are equally endearing and no doubt wishing Panni all the best for the campaign, as all fans will be.
The NSW Premier League is all the better for the likes of Nikas playing in it and moving on to higher grades which is why, in many cases, it can rival bigger competitions as everyone who plays in it wants to achieve so much more.
-By Micky Brock
The game struggled especially early on to keep spectators entertained.
The best opportunities were with Anthony Hartshorn trying his luck with a shot that ended up wide before Rockdale City almost replied instantly when Kosta Lagoudakis broke free from midfield before firing his shot over the crossbar.
Set pieces proved to be each side?s best friend midway through the first stanza of play: A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt were first to try their luck when a lovely David D?Apuzzo corner made its way to Nicola Rizzo who forced the goalkeeper Dion Shaw into a convincing save just under the crossbar.
Rockdale?s reply was equally dangerous when an Adem Kir corner was beautifully floated into Joshua Lawson who fired his header just wide of the intended target.
Another set piece almost rewarded the Tigers when Robbie Younis? free-kick forced Shaw into another good save low down.
In the 36? minute A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt could really have taken the lead when a long ball, that should have been easy prey, was terribly dribbled in an attempted clearance by Shaw.
The resulting error gifted Hartshorn the ball but, by the time he rounded the goalkeeper, his weak shot which still seemed certain to go over the line was wonderfully intercepted by Giorgio Speranza off his own line to save Rockdale?s bacon and Shaw?s blushes.
A late free-kick from Younis was once again unable to penetrate Shaw?s resilience and poise between the posts and, as such, the first-half finished goalless.
It didn?t take too long in the second-half for Rockdale City to break the goal drought when Kir fired in a rocket from approximately 30-metres that was never going to miss the back of the net, leaving Jose Bello-Amigo stupefied between the posts.
It may not be goal of the season given that it is only Round 1, but it will surely go close.
The home side should really have extended the lead shortly afterwards when Steven Veleski was gifted a great ball that allowed him to charge freely, but unfortunately at the crucial moment with only Jose Bello-Amigo to beat, he pulled his shot across the face of the goal and just wide of the posts.
It was the lucky break A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt needed, and perhaps deserved, because only minutes later the ball bobbled its way into the box.
Franco Parisi, ever the opportunist, made no mistake in slotting the ball home.
Another Younis free-kick shaved the posts shortly afterwards before the home side missed two clear cut chances later on.
Firstly, Sash Trajcevski headed just wide before replacement Jeffrey Issa was thwarted by an out-coming Bello Amigo.
After the game Lee Sterrey, coach of the Rockdale City Suns, was reasonably pleased with his side?s efforts:
?I thought we went alright given that APIA were a top five team from last year,? he said.
?I thought we handled their attack well and we had to get men behind the ball, that?s why we played with five in the backline to break out in the counter [attack].
?Adem Kir scored a great goal and 5? minutes later we had a clear break away with Veleski and we didn?t score with a one-on-one. If we had have gone 2-0 up, the game was over.
?We set the game up great but our execution wasn?t there at times. However, for a team that?s only about fifty percent of last year?s squad, and I have only been here five weeks, there is more positives out it than negatives.?
When quizzed about what he expected for season 2011, Sterrey was definitely upbeat:
?Look, at the end of the day, we want to make the play-offs, like all teams, so once a team is in the five there is every opportunity to go on and win a Grand Final.
?There?s a good character in this club and the Board [of Directors] and the committee is very progressive, so it?s all good.?
The message from the opposition was remarkably similar with A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt?s Football Manager Tony Raciti impressed with his team?s first official outing:
?I thought that obviously we were the better team even though we didn?t play that well today, but we did create four to five clear-cut chances,? he stated.
?I think we started three weeks too late and the boys are still picking up their fitness, but today?s ground was heavy to play on.
?The positives are that the whole back four and goalkeeper were exceptional and didn?t put a foot wrong all game and also David D?Apuzzo had a great game.?
When quizzed about the prospects of APIA Leichhardt in 2011, Raciti was equally positive and full of expectation:
?I think every team should expect to finish first, otherwise they shouldn?t bother to go into the competition, so obviously we are aiming for that position.
?It?s either first or nothing for us,? he concluded.
Meanwhile, in the Grade 20s A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt started the season with a convincing 3-1 win over the home side, Rockdale City Suns.
Sunday, 27th March, 2011
Bicentennial Park, Rockdale
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Thomas Lee and Alex Long
Fourth Official: Thomas Diakos
Rockdale City Suns 1 (Adem Kir 50?)
A.P.I.A. Leichhardt Tigers 1 (Franco Parisi 61?)
Rockdale City Suns FC: 22.Dion Shaw; 7.Peter Apolevski, 23.Askin Oygur, 10.Sash Trajcevski, 6.Joshua Lawson, 13.Giorgio Speranza, 4.Kosta Lagoudakis (11.Adem Kir 13?), 8.Dominic Hudap, 3.Shay Spitz (19.Marino Musumeci 88?), 9.Jason Naidovski (5.Jeffrey Issa 74?), 12.Steven Veleski.
Substitutes Not Used: 17.Sash Tirovski
Yellow Cards: Naidovski 60?
Red Cards: Nil
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers: 1.Jose Bello-Amigo; 2.Mark Byrnes, 3.John Kelso, 13.David D?Apuzzo, 4.Cole Tinkler, 5.Michael West, 7.Stephen Kayes, 8.Anthony Hartshorn, 11.Nicola Rizzo (19.Sam Messam 74?), 9.Robbie Younis, 10.Franco Parisi (16.Chris James 88?)
Substitutes Not Used: 40.Terry Dalbroi, 17.Matthew Fsadni, 15.David Dascal
Yellow Cards: Hartshorn 81?, Parisi 83?
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Adem Kir (RCS)
2 – John Kelso (ALT)
1 – David D?Apuzzo (ALT)
-By Joe Russo
All players from the Under 13?s right through till the senior squad received new uniforms which included bags, strips and tracksuits for what the club has described as a big year for all involved.
The Suns senior squad, coached by Lee Sterrey, once again gave the captain?s armband to long serving player Peter Apolevski.
The evening also saw the club’s major sponsor Gregory Jewellers present Suns President Zak Agioski with a $60,000 cheque for the season.
The Suns? first match for 2011 will be their clash against the APIA Leichhardt Tigers on Sunday 27th March at Ilinden Sports Centre with kick-off set for 3pm.
-By Mark Stavroulakis
The Asian Football Confederation has indefinitely postponed Sydney FC?s 2011 AFC Champions League Group H match against the Kashima Antlers that was originally scheduled for Wednesday 16 March in the wake of the devastating situation currently occurring in Japan.
The Sky Blues next AFC match will be at the Sydney Football Stadium on Wednesday 6 April against Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua (8pm kick-off).
In the lead up to the Shanghai clash Sydney FC will take on the Suns led by new coach Lee Sterrey at the Rockdale Illinden Sports Centre on Wednesday 30 March (7:30pm kick-off).
Tickets for the friendly against Rockdale can be purchased at the gate.
?It is important we have a match before our game against Shanghai. We have had many intense training sessions including playing games between ourselves but the game against Rockdale will give us a good hit out,? Sydney FC coach Vitezslav Lavicka said.
?We have pretty much a full squad available so we can give everyone some time. That is an option but I expect I will play my full strength team for much of the game so we are ready for the Champions League game.
Sydney FC will be without captain Terry McFlynn for the match against Shanghai. The club is yet to hear whether McFlynn will face further sanctions.
Sydney FC?s 2011 AFC Champions League Fixtures:
Match Day 1 Wednesday 2 March
8pm kick-off Suwon Samsung Bluewings (Korea) Sydney Football Stadium 0-0
Match Day 2 Wednesday 16 March
7pm kick-off Kashima Antlers (Japan) Kashima Soccer Stadium Postponed
Match Day 3 Wednesday 6 April
8pm kick-off Shanghai Shenhua (China) Sydney Football Stadium
Match Day 4 Tuesday 19 April
8pm kick-off Shanghai Shenhua (China) Hongkou Stadium
Match Day 5 Tuesday 3 May
7:30pm kick-off Suwon Samsung Bluewings (Korea) Suwon World Cup Stadium
Match Day 6 Tuesday 10 May
8pm kick-off Kashima Antlers (Japan) Sydney Football Stadium
-Sydney FC Media Release