Friday night football returns to Somers Street as the Bentleigh Greens make the trip along the M1 to Knights Stadium to face off against the Melbourne Knights in round four NPL Victoria action.
After last week’s fizzer against Heidelberg United where the Knights suffered their first loss of the season, the side returns home looking to make a statement against the early league leaders in front of a home crowd. With two wins and 6 points under their belt, the Knights currently sit in 5th position in the competition.
After a string of injuries and suspensions forced Knights coach Colina to opt for a different starting 11 than the previous two weeks, what remains to be seen is if the Knights will again opt to start with attacking trio, Gian Albano, Hamish Watson and Atilla Ofli or go for a more traditional approach with Albano and Watson up front and a heavier midfield. Importantly, Anthony Duzel and Daniel Visevic are available for squad selection after serving the duration of their suspensions.
Turnovers will for sure be a topic of discussion this week around the camp as the side proved to be wasteful in possession last week against the Bergers. Most of Knights’ woes against Heidelberg were self-inflicted, resulting from minor lapses in concentration. However, when all 11 on the park are focused, the Knights prove to be a formidable foe, evident from the opening two games of the season. Not dwelling on lost games and building resilience will be crucial for the Knights this season if they wish to make finals.
Looking to the Knights’ opponents, Bentleigh have had, as expected, impressive start to the season. Currently sitting in pole position, the Greens haven’t dropped a match yet, claiming all 9 points thus far and have been deadly up front with a total 10 goals between the three matches and only conceding 4 in the process. Containing Joshua Barresi and Valentino Yuel will be crucial for the Knights, as the talismanic pair have netted 7 of the 10 goals for their side.
Between the two sides, who have faced off against each other a total of 19 times in league competition, the scales are tipped towards the visitors. Bentleigh have been the victors on 13 of the 19 meet ups (7 of the 13 victories have been at Knights Stadium).
The Knights on the other hand have only claimed victory on 4 of the 19 occasions, two at home and two away, with the last home victory in 2014. The remaining two games resulted in a draw. The last time the Knights were able to come out on top was back in round 3 season 2017, when the Knights travelled to Kingston Heath and trounced an off-guard Bentleigh 3-1.
After the last home game, the support from the stands is sure to be significant in getting the home side across the line in what shapes up as an excellent early season assignment against one of the league’s benchmark sides.
Round 4 Match Details
Date: Friday 8th March 2019
Venue: Knights Stadium
Appointed Match Official: Michael Mammis
Forecast at 7:45pm: 25 degrees
Melbourne Knights FC Squad:
- Harry Cakarun, 2. Luke Jurcic, 4. Tom Podaridis, 5. Ayden Brice, 6. Tomislav Uskok, 8. Gian Albano, 9. Hamish Watson, 10. Marijan Cvitkovic, 11. Nikola Jurkovic, 12. Corey Sewell, 13. Ivan Grgic, 14. AJ Inia, 15. Adrian Tardio, 16. Marcelo De La Plaza, 17. Daniel Visevic, 19. Anthony Duzel, 20. Jordan Gifkins, 25. Atila Ofli, 27. Joseph Franjic.
Yutaro Shin – injury
Bentleigh Greens SC Squad:
1. Ryan Scott (GK), 2. Matthew Crooks, 3. Jacob Alexander, 4. Charlie Fry, 5. Jack Webster (C), 6. Brody Taylor, 7. Josh Barresi, 8. George Lambadaridis, 10. Tyson Holmes, 11. James Xydias, 14. Marco Jankovic, 15. Valentino Yuel, 16. Joshua Meaker, 17. Arnold Suew, 18. Matt Thurtell, 20. Nathan Coe (GK), 21. Scott Lochhead, 23. Velibor Mitrovic