The Melbourne Knights have suffered their first defeat of the 2019 NPL season going down 2-0 to Heidelberg United in sweltering conditions at the Olympic Village on Saturday evening.
The Knights made two changes to the team that started in last week’s come from behind win against Altona Magic.
— Melbourne Knights FC (@MelbKnights) March 2, 2019
Atilla Ofli earnt his first start of the season against his former club and off-season recruit Tom Podaridis also earnt his first start in Knights colours whilst Anthony Duzel missed through suspension and Luke Jurcic dropped to the bench.
The Knights started off the better side as the attacking trio of Watson, Albano and Ofli were causing headaches for the experienced Heidelberg defence led by Luke Byles.
The opening 20 minutes saw the Knights have 5 shots on goal however their wastefulness in the attacking third would prove costly.
After the half hour mark the home side began to settle into their rhythm of attacking in numbers and putting the Knights defence under severe pressure.
A great corner from Sean Ellis met the head of former Knights player Tom Cahill but they were denied taking the lead by the woodwork as Cahill’s header thundered off the crossbar.
However, only a minute later Nikola Jurkovic was dispossessed in defence and a great through ball to Harry Noon was struck well and Heidelberg took the lead after 35 minutes.
As the half went on neither side could take control of the game as both sides reverted to long hopeful balls but both defence’s seemed to be dealing with them comfortably.
Just before half time, Heidelberg doubled their lead in bizarre circumstances.
Knights goalkeeper, Harry Cakarun who has had a brilliant start to the season was looking to play out from the back however a poor first touch resulted in Tom Cahill closing him down in time for Cakarun’s attempted clearance to ricochet off his back and double his side’s lead.
The Knights should have pulled a goal back immediately after as Albano found space on the right-hand side but his shot couldn’t hit the target and we would go into the half time break 2-0 down.
It was Heidelberg who started the second half off as the much stronger side. The Bergers controlled much of the tempo of the game and the Knights couldn’t find a way through a resilient yellow and black defence, failing to create any clear-cut chances and the game would end in a 2-0 defeat.
Looking forward, the next game this Friday night at Knights Stadium where the Knights take on an in form Bentleigh Greens. Kick off is scheduled for 7:45pm and the social club will be open from 5pm for dinner and drinks prior to kick off. Akord will be performing pre and post-game inside the social club so bring your friends, families and children for another night of entertainment.
Heidelberg United 2
(Noon 35’, Cahill 44’)
Melbourne Knights 0
Melbourne Knights: 1. Harry Cakarun, 4. Tom Podaridis (Luke Jurcic 76’), 6. Tomislav Uskok, 8. Gian Albano, 9. Hamish Watson, 10. Marijan Cvitkovic (AJ Inia 61?), 11. Nikola Jurkovic,, 12. Corey Sewell, 13. Ayden Brice, 25. Atilla Ofli, 27. Joseph Franjic
Heidelberg Untied: 1. Chris Theodoridis, 2. Josh Wilkins, 3. Les Doumbalis, 6. Lewis Hall, 9. Adrian Zahra, 13. Luke Byles, 14. Harry Noon, 15. Paul O’Brien, 16. Tom Cahill, 19. Sean Ellis, 22. Adrian Schiavo