MELBOURNE: Melbourne Knights knocked in three goals in the second half to crush a 10-man South Melbourne while Parramatta wasted a golden opportunity to consolidate its place in the top six during Friday night’s matches in the national soccer league.
Parramatta lost a penalty shoot-out with the Melbourne Zebras 5-3 after neither side could score during normal time at Olympic Park.
South Melbourne looked competitive in the first half against the Knights but then fell apart to concede goals to Fausto De Amicis, Danny Tiatto and Mark Viduka after Alex Kuzmanovic was sent off shortly after half time for his second bookable offence.
The game was stopped briefly in the second half when portions of the large crowd tossed dozens of drink cans on to the pitch. Kuzmanovic and fellow new signing Allan Davidson had been rushed into the South Melbourne side for the big game along with sweeper Mehmet Durakovic, who has had a long lay-off due to injury.
De Amicis’ left-foot drive in the 50th minute made it 1-0 and, when Kuzmanovic was sent off four minutes later for a tackle on Tiatto, the Blues’ spirits dropped. The Knights simply powered over the top of South Melbourne, peppering the opponent’s goal with 28 shots to South Melbourne’s eight. The Knights scored again in the 67th minute with a marvellous move which began in defence and ended with a Joe Spiteri cross headed home on the far post by Tiatto.
Viduka danced his way between three defenders and scored two minutes from time.
The result means the Knights remain undefeated and on their own at the top of the ladder but, for South, the loss means it has fallen nearly three games outside the top six and increased the pressure on coach Frank Arok.
Despite the Blues not having won since opening day South Melbourne president George Vasilopoulos still supported Arok.
“There is no question about Frank’s job,” said Vasilopoulos.
“At this moment I’m just very disappointed because it could be the season over for us.”
“The quality of the players is there — player for player there is no comparison.”
In the match at Olympic Park Young Socceroo Robert Enes sealed the result with the Zebras’ fifth shot after Paramatta’s Paul Souris had blasted his kick against the cross-bar.
The win provided the club, which has been rocked by the departures of defenders Alex Kuzmanovic and Ross Aloisi, with a much-needed morale boost.
Sunday 25th December 1995
The Canberra Times