South Melbourne have officially secured the premiership after a tense victory over Dandenong City, wrapping up the title with one game remaining.
“Hellas” beat City in the 25th round of the Victorian NPL to become premiers for the tenth in the competition’s history.
Port Melbourne defeated Bentleigh 0-1 away on Sunday evening to leap past Oakleigh into second place, thanks to Chris Duggan’s winner (47′).
Oakleigh fell 2-1 in their away fixture with St Albans, slipping down to third in the same week they officially conceded the title to the Premiers.
The Cannons went ahead after a goal from Anthony Pantazopoulos (14′) before the Saints came from behind to steal the points through Zander Guy (53′) and James Temelkovski (90+6′).
Heidelberg suffered a heavy 1-4 home defeat to top six rivals Avondale FC in what could prove to be a season-ending result.
Avondale cruised to a four-nil lead via Yusuf Ahmed (6′), Kristian Trajceski (30′, 50′) and Liston Diaz (40′), with Kaine Sheppard giving “Megas” a late consolation (90+3′).
Marcus Schroen (77′) led South Melbourne to a title-clinching 1-0 home victory over Dandenong City.
“Hellas” manager Estaban Quintas was ecstatic with the result, seeing it as the culmination of all the efforts made by everyone in the club to earn silverware.
“When Andrew Mesourouni created this squad, he told me that our goal was to win titles and we have done our job. Win the league and make our fans happy. The reality is that there is a lot of work behind all of this,” Mr Quintas told Neos Kosmos.
NPL Victoria Ladder (teams which have a game in hand)
1-South Melbourne: 59
2-Port Melbourne Sharks: 53
3-Oakleigh Cannons: 51
4-Green Gully: 42 (24)
5-Avondale FC: 40
6-Bentleigh Greens: 39
7-Heidelberg United: 39
8-Dandenong Thunder: 35
9-Melbourne Knights: 30
10-Altona Magic: 27
11-St Albans: 27
12-Hume City: 23
13-Dandenong City: 20
14-Eastern Lions: 8 (24)
Sydney Olympic cruelly fell to Manly United on penalties in their semi-final clash on Saturday afternoon to miss out on direct qualification to the championship final.
The two clubs went into extra time goalless when Sam McIllhatton found the back of the net (107′) for the Blues, though Manly recovered with a last-minute equaliser from Bruno Mendes (120+2′).
The NPL NSW premiers crumbled under the pressure of the shoot-out with three players missing the target, allowing Manly to win 4-3 and steal the victory.
In Northern NSW, Newcastle Olympic rescued a point against Lambton Jaffas in their 18th round home match on Sunday afternoon to stay in fifth on 28 points.
The visitors went in front after a goal from Reece Papas (65′) but Vince Unie (90+3′) came in at the death to help the Hamilton-based side bag a draw.
Adelaide Olympic were thrashed 6-0 away against the premiers, Adelaide City, in the 22nd and final round on Saturday afternoon, finishing the season in tenth on 20 points.
Ayom Majok (13′, 38′, 45′), Nicholas Bucco (50′, 62′) and Daniele Bressan (66′) all contributed to the hosts’ dominant victory which solidified their title win.
Olympic FC managed a 2-2 away stalemate against Gold Coast Knights in the 21st round on Sunday afternoon, remaining in second on 38 points.
Mitch Nichols put the visitors ahead (31′) before Janiel (32′) and Max Brown (45′) scored to give the Knights the lead, with Takeru Okada coming on the hour mark for the match’s final goal.
Floreat Athena fought their way to a 3-1 home success against Sorrento in the 20th round on Saturday evening, preserving first and moving to 43 points.
Gustavo Giron Marulanda’s effort gave Sorrento the advantage but Athena rallied to overturn the deficit, thanks to strikes from Phillip Arnold (50′), Jesse Fuller (53′) and Robert Petkov (90+2′).
Canberra Olympic registered a 2-0 home victory over West Canberra Wanderers in their 17th round meeting on Saturday afternoon to snap their eleven-match winless run, holding their place sixth and increasing their season tally to 16 points.
Olympia Warriors lost 0-4 at home to first-place Devenport in the 17th round on Saturday afternoon for their 15th loss this campaign to keep in seventh on six points.
The league leaders secured the win after goals from Ali Dulleh (5′), Roberto Fernandez Garrido (79′ pen.) and Kieran Mulraney (90′), with Alexander Holmes also scoring an own goal (64′) to add to the Warriors’ woes.