Melbourne Knights has booked a place in the Dockerty Cup Final after a dramatic 3-2 win, after extra time, against Bentleigh Greens at SS Anderson Reserve on Tuesday night.
Genuine chances were few and far between in the first half, but it was Milan Batur who sent the Knights ahead in the 38th minute. A free kick from the right was delivered to the near post, Batur popped up to get the final touch past Bentleigh keeper Alistair Bray.
Ryan De Vries equalised for Bentleigh in the 66th minute. Picked out at the far post by a cross from the right, De Vries volleyed into the net from close range, leaving May with no chance of a save.
Daniel Visevic handed the lead back to the Knights just four minutes later with a spectacular effort from outside the box. The attacking player launched a powerful shot into the top right corner to make it 2-1 in the 70th minute.
In the fifth minute of injury time, with seconds left on the clock, Stuart Webster bundled the ball over the line in a final, desperate attack to force the game into extra time.
Stipo Andrijasevic was the hero for Knights, stepping up in the 11th minute of extra time to retake the lead once agin. Capitalising on a poor back pass, Andrijasevic calmly ran into the box and slotted the ball past Bray.
Knights once again took the lead in the 11th minute of the first half of extra time. Stipo Andrijasevic capitalised on a poor back pass before running into the box and calmly finishing past Bray.
The Knights had an early scare in the opening minute when Shayan Alinejad clashed with an opponent inside the area. The referee dismissed any penalty claims, though Alinejad stayed on the deck and required medical attention before returning to the field a couple of minutes later.
Tomislav Uskok had the first genuine opportunity of the game. Working his way into the box, and one-on-one with Alistair Bray, Uskok’s shot was well-saved by Bentleigh’s keeper in the 22nd minute.
For Bentleigh, David Stirton and Ryan De Vries looked the most dangerous in the opening 45 minutes, but Knights was able to contain the attacking threat with Chris May called upon only a handful of times.
The second half started at a fast tempo, though Knights had the better of the chances in the opening ten minutes.
The most notable opportunity fell to Daniel Visevic, who quickly took a free kick within shooting range in an attempt to catch Bray off guard. Bentleigh’s keeper, however, was alert and made the save.
Bentleigh’s 66th minute goal looked to make the final stages of the game interesting, but Knights responded in emphatic fashion through Visevic to retake the lead.
Liam McCormick had a golden opportunity to once again level the scores in the 80th minute when, inside the box, his shot flashed just wide of the right upright.
Webster’s late equaliser forced the match into extra time, much to the disappointment of Knights players, staff and fans alike.
Andrijasevic’s extra time goal restored Knights’ lead, and this time they were able to hold on until the end of extra time to book a place in the Dockerty Cup Final.
Melbourne Knights’ next match is the NPL Round 18 clash with South Melbourne on Sunday 20 July. Kick off at Lakeside Stadium is at 5pm.