MELBOURNE: Melbourne Croatia climbed into the National Soccer League top five yesterday after beating Sydney Olympic 2-1 at North Sunshine.
It will occupy third position at least until the balance of the present round has been played.
Goalkeeper Clint Gosling was Olympic’s hero, saving a penalty by Zeljko Adzic in the 66th minute and also blocking powerful shots from Branko Milosevic, Ivan Kelic and Francis Awaritefe.
Olympic, playing with the wind in the first half, matched Croatia during early play and came close to scoring through Dave Barrett in the 13th and Scott Ollerenshaw in the 23rd minute.
But the tide started to turn in the 35th minute when a through ball from Adzic set up Awaritefe for a shot which Gosling blocked desperately.
Five minutes later Gary Phillips brought down Ivan Duzel after a move involving also Adzic and Awaritefe, but referee John Santa Isabel turned down Croatia’s appeals for a penalty.
The deadlock was broken in the 39th minute in unusual circumstances.
Both Awaritefe and Kelic got their boot to the ball at the same moment and it was not until the halftime break that the players themselves finally agreed the goal should go to Kelic.
Adzic increased Croatia’s lead seconds before the interval with a shot which deflected off the legs of Olympic leftback Steve Georgakis.
Olympic regained hope in the 50th minute when Phillips converted a penalty awarded over a foul by George Hannah on Andrew Bernal.
Croatia however, grabbed hold of the match, with Milosevic, Duzel, Adzic and Josip Biskic demoralising their opponents in midfield.
The penalty to Croatia was awarded over handling of the ball by Olympic centre back Nick Platiniotis.
Olympic had a flurry of activity in the 75th minute when successive shots by Grant Lee, Abbas Saad and Bernal were all blocked inside the penalty area.
In a 78th-minute substitution aimed at increasing Croatia’s lead, John Markovski, not fully fit after playing for Australia against Moscow Torpedo on Friday night, came on to replace Awaritefe.
However, it was Adzic and Kelic who came closest to adding further goals.
The Canberra Times
February 4th 1990