Hellas commenced the season with a decisive victory, clinching a 1-0 win against Melbourne Knights in the NPL opener on a balmy Melbourne night.
The match, held at Lakeside Stadium, marked the commencement of the Victorian NPL championship and saw South Melbourne emerge triumphant in the classic Melbourne derby.
Despite being the inaugural game of the 2024 season, the attendance was modest. South Melbourne seized an early lead just four minutes into the game.
A precise cross from Mikkola found its mark as the towering forward Harrison Sawyer deftly maneuvered through a sea of players to slot the ball into the back of the net, securing the lead for Hellas.
Throughout the match, South Melbourne maintained a slight edge, dictating the tempo of the game with their initiative in attack.
However, the Melbourne Knights also posed a threat, penetrating Lopez’s box on occasion, albeit without creating any significant scoring opportunities.
In the second half, Melbourne Knights displayed renewed vigor, seizing control of the game and launching assertive attacks.
Despite their efforts, they failed to capitalise on their dominance, unable to find the equalizer. In the final stages of the match, the Sunshine team intensified their pressure on South Melbourne, but the early 1-0 lead held firm until the final whistle.
It is worth noting that the referee issued several yellow cards to players from both sides over the course of the match.