Injury sours Croatia’s celebrations

SYDNEY: Victory celebrations for Melbourne Croatia were soured slightly after their thrilling 2-1 win over Parramatta Melita yesterday with world cup soccer defender Alan Davidson rushed to
hospital suffering concussion.

– With only six minutes remaining, Croatia goalkeeper David Miller tried to clear a Melita cross but ended up punching Davidson in the back of the head, knocking the world cup star out.
Play was held up for six minutes as the unconscious Davidson received first-aid attention before being rushed to Auburn District Hospital suffering concussion.

The crowd of 2652 spectators at the Melita Stadium witnessed a magnificent match as the Victorians scored the winner with only 10 seconds remaining.
The hero for Melbourne Croatia was giant defender Andrew Marth who rocketed his 20m free kick through Melita Eagles defensive wall and into the net.

The free kick followed a foul by Melita’s Lenny Vial on Croatia’s Ivan Kelic. Melita was unfortunate that after playing well it did not share the points.
Melbourne Croatia hit the lead in the 17th minute through a fine header by Kelic after an excellent cross from the left by substitute Joe Caleta.

The Victorians grabbed victory the hard way, losing midfielder Ivan Duzel with a hamstring injury after four minutes and then having midfielder Branko Milosevic forced off with a shin complaint with 15 minutes remaining.
Melita’s sustained attack was finally rewarded in the 69th minute when left midfielder Geoff Gunning scored.
Fellow midfielder Jarek Nowicki crossed from the right, Greg Brown nodded down and Gunning hit a first-time
winner. It was Gunning’s fourth goal in four games.

Melbourne Croatia’s stand-in coach, George Hannah said, “We worked hard and kept our shape in the second half when under extreme pressure.
“We lost three of our players with injuries yet won the match despite our hard ships.”
Melita coach Raul Blanco, who on Friday returned to Australia after being in South America with the Australian under-17 squad said a defensive lapse cost his side the game.
“That winning goal scored by Croatia came from a very serious, basic mistake,” Blanco said.

The Canberra Times
Sunday 16th December 1990

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