South Melbourne’s gloom, irritation, and sadness was palpable after their heavy defeat in the League Grand Final against Avondale.
Despite all the effort and sweat put in throughout the competitive year, Esteban Quintas’ team saw it all come to naught in the 90 minutes of the Grand Final.
Throughout the regular season, South Melbourne had been one of the star teams, finishing second in the standings, behind only the impressive Avondale.
With many consecutive positive performances, the historic “Hellenic” club quickly became recognized as one of the very strong favorites to win the title. On September 10th, South Melbourne made it to the Grand Final, but unfortunately, it was not to be.
The footballers of the “Greek” team took to the pitch at the Olympic Park, still haunted by the images and memories of the 2022 season’s final where South were beaten 5-0 by the Cannons.
Determined to take control of the game from the first minutes of the match, South Melbourne created the most important scoring chances in the first half, yet their inefficiency in converting them into goals was ultimately the detail that made the difference in the battle between the two rivals.
It seemed as if Avondale’s newfound confidence was almost tangible as they took the lead in the 27th minute, with the “Greek” team still struggling to find a way through.
You could feel the energy radiating from the pitch as Avondale continued to press forward, and their efforts were rewarded with a second goal right at the end of the first half.
South’s footballers could do nothing but watch as the ball sailed into the back of the net, leaving them with a sense of dejection and despair as they drudged off to the dressing room at half-time.
Needless to say, luck was most certainly not on their side this time around.
South Melbourne entered the second half with a fighting spirit, but something was missing – their offensive line was practically non-existent.
Every pass and every cross seemed to be swallowed up by the Avondale keeper.
Without Ajak Riak in the lineup, South Melbourne’s chances of scoring a goal seemed almost impossible.
Avondale, on the other hand, made their dreams come true by scoring a third goal in the 79th minute, and Liston Diaz sealed the deal with a fourth goal in the 92nd minute.
It was a fair win, a testament to the amazing season Avondale had. The “Italians” have built a team that could easily become the champions of the league in the near future.
The future of South Melbourne looks uncertain, with their current coach Esteban Quintas out of contract and some of their key players struggling to show the motivation and talent needed to make the club successful.
The upcoming summer will be a challenging time for South Melbourne, but there is still hope.
It is up to the club’s management to make some brave and well-thought decisions if they want to see the team heading back in the right direction. With the right choices, this summer could be just what South Melbourne needs to return to their former glory.