A double from new boy Andrew Barisic, and a goal from Stipo Andrijasevic, helped Melbourne Knights to an opening day 3-1 Vic Cro Cup defeat of St Albans on Friday afternoon at Knights Stadium.
The match was the first fixture of the 2015 round-robin tournament, which also features fellow National Premier League outfits North Geelong and Dandenong City.
Goalkeeper coach Frank Juric, in charge of the side in the brief absence of head coach Andrew Marth, chose to play Barisic up front with Andrijasevic in the humid Melbourne weather, which paid off almost instantly.
Eight minutes into the first shortened 20 minute half, Andrijasevic broke the deadlock from close range after Tomislav Uskok did well to head the ball down into the path of his teammate following a long throw-in towards the box.
Five minutes after taking the lead and Barisic doubled the advantage with a wonder strike from outside the area. The former Gold Coast United man chased down a ball with a Dinamo defender towards the corner of the 18-yard-box, and hit a first time effort which rocketed into the near top right corner of the goal.
Barisic could have added another wonder goal to his tally not long after, when he attempted an audacious lob from well outside the box, which had the Dinamo goalkeeper backtracking, but the ball ended up resting on the roof of the net – going agonisingly close.
Juric made a number of substitutions in the second half – including bringing Jacob Colosimo on to make his first appearance since a knee reconstruction – which preceded a uneventful patch of football.
Five minutes out from the end, Dinamo halved the deficit when some poor defending in the box – arguably attributed to a heat-influenced lapse in concentration – allowed an opposition player at the back post to slot an effort into the back of the net through a sea of legs.
But it was the Knights who had the last impact on the game, when Barisic doubled his tally for the evening and restored the two goal cushion when he went one-on-one with the St Albans shot-stopper before coolly placing an effort past his opponent.
The Club’s next #VicCroCup fixture is on this Sunday at 1PM when the Knights take on Dandenong City, before facing newly promoted NPL side North Geelong at 3PM.