It was a dream finish for Sydney Olympic on Sunday afternoon with a 1-0 victory against Sydney United 58 securing them the 2018 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Premiership.
Luck was on the side of the Abbas Saad coached outfit, as APIA Leichhardt TIger’s shock 2-1 loss to Hakoah Sydney City East ensured the historic club their first league premiership since 2011.
A goal to Alejandro Sanchez after only ten minutes gave the Blues the perfect start and they held on against tenacious opposition.
United 58 were reduced to 10 men on the cusp of the half time interval after Petar Markovic was sent off and had a goal disallowed for offside in the 74th.
As word travelled around the ground of APIA’s defeat, Olympic’s fans were building up for wild scenes at the final whistle. And what a party it was at Belmore Sports Ground.
Sydney Olympic started off the game strong, with Alex Sanchez hitting the back of the net in the 3rd minute before the flag was raised.
Sanchez made a speedy run through the Sydney United 58 defence to let off the shot but was called offside and the goal denied.
The Spaniard wouldn’t wait long to hit the back of the net again, this time earning the home team the lead in the 9th minute.
Radovan Pavicevic made a brilliant intercept to run down the line and curve the ball to Sanchez who took a tight turn and finished in style.
Pavicevic made another impressive run in the 10th minute, crossing the ball into Burgess who sent his shot high.
Sanchez looked for another in the 12th minute, catching John Hall out of position, but his shot was deflected by Sydney United 58’s defence.
Pavicevic looked to extend the lead in the 34th minute, sending a powerful shot towards the sticks but Hall managed to get a touch and send the ball out for a corner, holding the home side at 1-0.
Peter Markovic earned himself a trip to the sheds early, receiving a red card in the 44th minute after bringing down Sanchez on his run towards goal.
Sanchez took his free kick outside the box, but Hall collected the low strike to deny the striker his second of the day.
Sanchez came straight back into it after the break, powering forward in his attempt to extend the lead, but Sydney United 58 held strong in defence.
Panny Nikas looked to equalise for the visitors in the 51st minute, taking a free kick from a dangerous position, but his ball flew above the crossbar.
Nikas tried a second time to get his team on the scoreboard in the 67th minute, earning a free kick after a handball outside the box.
Patrick Antelmi gave Olympic a scare in the 74th minute, tapping a ball from Nikas into the back of the net before being called offside.
Max Burgess let off a stunner in the 78th minute, sending a shot blazing towards the sticks, but Hall stretched to his limits to tip the ball over the crossbar.
Sydney Olympic Head Coach, Abbas Saad, expressed his pleasure in the effort of the players for the entirety of their Premiership winning season.
“The boys played really well, we created so many chances we just didn’t take them.”
“I thought the boys were fantastic and really, truly deserve it.
“They’ve had a fabulous season.
“To lose it at the last game would have been hard to take so I’m really happy for them.
“It’s not easy taking over 3 or 4 days before the season starts.
“I haven’t coached in the league for more than 10 years or so.
They’re a great bunch of boys there’s a lot of talented youngsters in our team.
“They just needed man management, a bit of confidence, and just to go out there and play their football and they’ve done that all throughout the year.
“I think they’ve entertained, they play a great brand of football and that’s down to they boys’ application and attitude all throughout the year.”
Sydney Olympic 1 (Alejandro Sanchez 9’)
Sydney United 58 0
Sunday August 12, 2018
Referee: S Lucas
Assistant Referee: A Giev & A Hosani
Fourth official: M Bailey
Sydney Olympic: 1. Paul Henderson, 2. Thomas Whiteside, 7. Will Angel (6. Nikola Kuleski 53’), 8. Jason Madonis (19. Darcy Burgess 72’), 9. Radovan Pavicevic, 10. Max Burgess, 11. Jinya An, 12. Zac Mackenzie, 14. Alejandro Sanchez Lopez, 18. Brendan Hooper (5. James Demetriou 84’), 23. Riley Woodcock
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Eze Consoni, 33. Niko Tsattalios
Yellow Cards: Nikola Kuleski,
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney United 58 1. John Hall, 3. Jordan Roberts, 5. Peter Markovic, 8. Matthew Sim, 9. Patrick Antelmi, 11. Yianni Perkatis (32. Ante Vrlic 68), 12. Shannon Cole, 13. Sam Perre, 15. Iariq Maia, 18. Glen Trifiro (33. Vlastelica Luke 68’), 23. Panagiotis Nikas,
Substitutes Not Used: 21. Thomas Manos, 7. Mohammad Rahimi,
Red Cards: Peter Markovic 44’
By National Premier League Writer Madeline Riley