An Alejandro Sanchez double has helped Sydney Olympic FC to a 2-1 victory against Marconi Stallions at Lambert Park on Saturday.
The Spaniard struck in both halves as Olympic held out a determined Stallions outfit to stretch their lead at the top of the table to seven points.
Olympic were rewarded for a positive start to the match when Sanchez fired a brilliant shot from the edge of the box into the net after 21 minutes to open the scoring.
Marconi snatched an equaliser on halftime as Sean O’Connell’s quick thinking helped him tap home Marko Jesic’s missed penalty after it rebounded off the cross bar.
However it wasn’t to be for the visitors as Sanchez found his second of the match to give Olympic the win and take him to the top of the Golden Boot standings with 11 for the season.
Both sides went on the attack from the opening whistle with neither having the upper hand.
Sydney Olympic had the first real chance of the match when Jason Madonis narrowly missed getting a foot to a dangerous cross into the box by Max Burgess.
Olympic had another great chance in the 15th minute as Riley Woodcock fired over after a slick counter attack from Sanchez.
Olympic began to take control of the match and took the lead mid way through the half after a moment of brilliance from Sanchez.
The Spaniard received the ball just outside the edge of the penalty area and unleashed a deadly shot which sailed into the goal to give Olympic a 1-0 lead.
Marconi were determined to fight back and Judah Cleur went close after 25 minutes when he cut inside and fired straight into the arms of Olympic keeper Henderson.
The game was an arm wrestle as the half progressed as the Stallions fought back and Olympic dug in.
At the cusp of halftime, the visitors had a breakthrough as Cleur won a penalty after being taken down in the box.
Jesic’s penalty cannoned off the cross bar but a quick thinking O’Connell was on hand to tap home and level the scores.
Olympic would not have expected to go into the break on level pegging.
Marconi returned from the interval determined to take the lead and Cleur missed a great chance 55 minutes in when he fired over the bar.
Brandon Vella pushed forward and unleashed a shot which was saved in the 57th minute.
After 61 minutes it was the home side who took the lead when Sanchez netted his second of the match after tapping home at the far post.
Marconi pushed for an equaliser and introduced striker Sean Rooney late in the contest to help their cause.
Olympic held tight as Rooney, new recruit and former Blacktown City striker Charles Mendy and Jesic all tried to break through the defence.
Rooney had one final chance in the 90th minute but his headed effort sailed wide as Olympic held on to claim all three points.
Olympic coach Abbas Saad was proud of the way his side stay composed when the pressure mounted.
“For the first time this season we were really pushed,” Saad said.
“It was a very hard game and credit to Marconi for really taking it too us.
“We got back into our groove as the match went on and found the goal we needed. It was a great win for us.”
“The league is now in our hands but their is six games to go so we have to work hard and not get complacent.”
Marconi coach Peter Tsekenis rued what could’ve been for his side after a inspired performance against the competition’s top side.
“I thought we deserved a least a draw. We played quite well but it came down to us not taking full advantage of our opportunities,” he said.
“Neither side had many chances and I thought we did very well to limit Olympic.
“Unfortunately we just couldn’t do enough tonight but I feel we can be proud of our efforts.
“There is no room for error as we close out the season but if we keep playing the way we have the last few weeks I’m sure we will be there in the finals. ”
Sydney Olympic: 2 (Sanchez 21’ 62’)
Marconi Stallions: 1 (O’Connell 45’)
Saturday June 23, 2018
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Referee: C Fisher
Assistant Referees: J Bell & E Kocbek
Fourth official: A Higgins
Sydney Olympic: 1. Paul Henderson 2. Thomas Whiteside, 6. Nikola Kuleski, 7.Will Angel, 8. Jason Madonis (18. Brendan Hooper), 9. Radovan Pavicevic (33. Nikolas Tsattalios) 10. Max Burgess, 11. Jinya An, 12. Zach Mackenzie 14. Alejandro Sanchez, 23. Riley Woodcock
Substitues not used: 19. Darcy Burgess, 20. Ezequiel Consoni, 21. Stephan Athanaseris 33. Nikolas Tsattalios
Yellow Cards: Madonis 31’ Pavicevic 70’ Sanchez 82′
Marconi Stallions: 1. Nenad Vekic, 2. Marc Warren (38, Yianni Nicolaou), 5. Micheal Beauchamp, 6. Sean O’Connell (8. Sean Rooney), 10. Marko Jesic, 11. Judah Cleur, 12 James Andrew ( 9. Charles Mendy), 14. Peter Pelekanos 15. Mateo Poljak, 22.Brandon Vella, 23. Christopher Nunes.
Substitutes not used: 16. Hassan Jalloh, , 68 Luke Cukar
Yellow cards: O’Connell 27’ Nunes 60′