Sydney Olympic’s finals series hopes took a huge hit after their 1-1 draw against current TeleChoice Premier League leaders Sydney United at a rain hit Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.
With Sydney Olympic knowing that they had to take maximum points from their final three games to gain a semi-final position, they quickly got to work against Sydney United, who were missing influential player/coach Ante Milicic who was away on coaching duties with the Australian Under 20’s squad in Argentina.
Dubbed the clash of the former NSL giants, Olympic began the game well and attacked the left hand side of United as Emmanuel Giannaros provided a great cross in the 5 th minute which fell to Anthony Doumanis.
After controlling the ball, Doumanis saw his fierce shot well saved by the awaiting Vedran Janjetovic.
The Blues continued to show their attacking flair and nearly took the lead in the 11 th minute.
After Paul Wither was taken down just outside the box, Iain Ramsey struck a beautiful curling free kick which was parried onto the post by Janjetovic.
Two quick corners in the 14th minute gave Olympic more chances to hit the scoreboard however Joe Vrkic prevented that with a header off the line and Michael Cindric missed the target in the next play.
In the 23rd minute the Reds won the ball in the middle of the pitch and quickly created a three on three situation.
Luka Glavas crossed the ball aiming for David Zdrilic however Chris Triantis was well back to thwart the chance for United.
Sydney United continued to pressure Olympic all over the field and in the 32nd minute could have taken the lead in comical fashion.
After previously showing signs of hesitation on the ball, Mark Bosnich received a pass back and was quickly under pressure by Glavas.
The former A-League striker won the ball off Bosnich as he tried to clear, however his shot hit the side netting and another chance went begging for the Reds.
Sydney Olympic continued to push for the opening goal, and after a cleared corner in the 39th minute, Triantis sent a first time cross into the box meeting the head of Emmanuel Zunino however his header was well saved by Janjetovic.
The second half began with both clubs pushing for that elusive first goal.
In the 52nd minute Biddle’s fought hard to win the ball off Davor Bajsic on the left and moved into the 18 yard box.
A great cut back to Doumanis should have seen Olympic take the lead however a soft touch by the midfielder saw the ball cross the face of goal.
Sydney United stand in coach Alex Prophet decided to roll the dice in the 57th minute as he injected fresh legs into the field in Lisandro Berbis and Peter Markovic.
The changes almost almost paid dividends as Markovic won the ball and released Glavas on goal however his shot was excellently saved by Bosnich.
Bosnich produced a vintage save in the 60th minute, as Glavas was again unlucky not to have scored.
One minute later and a bizarre twist of events saw a free kick overturned to a penalty and red card to Sydney United goalkeeper Janjetovic.
As Anthony Hartshorn chased a through ball, he slid to win the ball from an advancing Janjetovic.
After collecting the young keeper, Janjetovic took offence to the tackle and turned and punched Hartshorn which gave referee Strebre Delovski no option but to give him a straight red card which ended his night.
From the resulting penalty, Doumanis blasted his spot-kick over much to the dismay of the Olympic faithful.
With so many chances gone begging, Olympic finally took the lead in the 67th minute.
Adam Biddle’s first time shot from a neat pass by Wither hit the back of the net which gave reserve Reds keeper Michael Frost no chance that sent the home crowd into raptures.
Olympic’s lead was short lived as three minutes later United levelled the game.
After winning the ball just outside his own box, Markovic took on four defenders and had a fierce left-foot shot from 35 yards which hit the back of the net that caught Bosnich napping.
Sydney Olympic tried to take that one-man advantage however failed to capitalise with the match ending 1-1.
Following the match, former Sydney FC youth captain Chris Triantis was happy with the Sydney Olympic’s performance.
“It was a lot better than the past few weeks.
“We were fired up to get something out of this match.We were just unlucky today, some silly mistakes and wrong decisions ended up working against us and to their credit they grabbed an equaliser.
“It’s going to be hard to make the finals, we need to win our next two games and hopefully Sutherland draws or loses their final game for us to have any chance.”
Injured Sydney United midfielder Glen Trifiro spoke highly of Sydney Olympic following the match.
“Sydney Olympic are a good side and played the ball really well.
“I think there were passages where we were decent but Olympic dominated in various parts of the pitch which made it that touch harder for us.
“Hopefully we can find that form we had at the start of the season in order of finishing the year
on a high.”
In the Grade 20 match, Sydney Olympic continued their winning ways with a 3-1 victory over Sydney United.
Courtesy of Football Federation NSW