Knights create Friday night miracle on Somers St

Gian Albano’s gallant goal scoring grind gifts the Knights faithful an evening to remember, as they defeated a tenacious Bentleigh side 3-2.

Starting XI: Thomas Manos (GK), Fuki Ishibashi, Theiry Iradukunda, Ayden Brice (C), Luka Celic, Gian Albano, Andy Robertson, Mohammad Sumaoro, Trevor Ssemakula, Jack Morton, Steve Sokol

Substitutes: Adam Bacic, Anthony Duzel, Atilla Ofli, Anthony Frangie, Luca Kolic, Ivan Miletic

Back at home and with a challenging start to the season, the Knights looked eager to hunt down the three points in what is proving to be a close NPL Victoria season.

The Knights started on the back foot in the first half, while Bentleigh started the match firing on all cylinders, catching the Knights off guard. Bentleigh’s Pierce Waring scored the opener in the 10th minute with a staggering strike from outside the eighteen-yard box straight into the top corner. 

The momentum stayed with Bentleigh, as Yagoub Mustafa scored in the 23rd minute, stepping around the defenders to finish in the six-yard box. 2-0 up, Bentleigh seemed to have the game within their control heading towards half time. 

Anthony Frangie replaced Steve Sokol in the 32nd minute and had an immediate impact in the Knights first real goal scoring opportunity of the night.

The Knights desperately needed a breakthrough, which arrived in the 41st minute, with Mohammad Sumaoro scoring form a Luka Celic corner, injecting life into the match; at the break Bentleigh led two goals to one.

The second half began with Theiry Iradukunda picking up a yellow card in the 48th minute, giving a bleak outlook for the Knights in the opening moments of the second half. Bentleigh seemed to be making the most of the ball when they had it moving fast in counter attacks yet were unable to convert. 

To the delight of all in attendance, in the 66th minute Gian Albano levelled the scoreboard with a sensational strike, leaving keeper Pierce Clarke unable to make the save. After the critical goal, the games momentum shifted to be with the home side.

In the 83rd minute Gian Albano scored his second of the night in what would be the match winner, sending the ball rocketing past the defenders into the back of the next, following some audacious creativity from Frangie. 

The visitors almost levelled things in the dying moments of extra time; however, Thomas Manos’ golden glove neutralised the threat, giving the three points to the Knights in a night that will go down in modern history as one of the great comebacks. 

Next week the Knights will remain at home, when they face Heidelberg United.

– Ryan Schopp

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