Friday 9 March 2001
As the full moon slowly rose over Knights Stadium on a humid Friday evening in Melbourne Western Suburbs, one thing was certain – Strange things were going to happen tonight. And happen they did.
Despite having more shots on goal, the Melbourne Knights retreated to their dressing rooms after the match – having gone down to Sydney Olympic 2:3.
In front of a healthy Friday night crowd of just under 4,500, an Elias Augerinos cross in the 10th minute found former Knights´ premiership player, Kresimir Marusic, who slammed the ball past an oncoming Lou Acevski to make it 1-0 to Olympic. It was Olympic’s first real chance of the game.
Despite having more clear cut chances, the Knights almost always seemed to break down in attack.
This was to become the order of the evening as Olympic were rewarded for capitalising on their occasional chances, whilst the Knights were made to pay dearly for squandering a vast array of chances.
Nevertheless, it was in form striker, Adrian Cervinski, playing against his former teammates and mentor, Olympic coach Branko Culina, who equalised in the 40th minute.
As the second half got under way, the Knights had a marvellous opportunity to go 2-1 up.
Cervinski backheeled the ball to Joel Porter whose powerful shot was superbly saved by Socceroo keeper Clint Bolton.
Instead, two minutes later, against the run of play, it was Olympic who took the lead through Augerinos.
In the 63rd minute, the Knights’ Cervinski hobbled off the park, as a result of a knock that he’d received several minutes earlier.
At this stage he looks highly doubtful for next week’s vital clash away to Eastern Pride.
The ‘Angolan ball-wizard’, Toto Da Costa equalised for the Knights in the 67th minute, when his shot on goal took a deflection and went past Bolton into the net.
But that was not the end of the ball game. Not by a long-shot. In the 79th minute, Knights’ defender Rody Vargas made a desperate goal-line clearance.
But from the ensuing corner, Olympic’s Pablo Cardozo poked the ball home through a sea of legs in a wild goal mouth scramble. 3-2 for Olympic – that’s the way it stayed, unfortunately for the Knights.
Despite tonight’s narrow loss, the Knights still remain in the Top Six.
The Knights’ next game will be away to lowly Eastern Pride next Saturday night.