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NPL R6 Preview – Knights v Sharks

The Knights continue their flying start to the 2019 season, as they return home to face Port Melbourne Sharks in round six of the competition. After a comfortable 2-0 win over fellow Croatian club Dandenong City SC last week, the Knights are keen to make the same impact on the park this week.

Against City, the Knights were able to find the back of the net on two occasions, first seemingly off Hamish Watson, with it being ruled as an own goal off City defender Steven Topalovic, and second, with a peachy cross body strike from Anthony Duzel. The match marked the second week in a row for the side in achieving a clean sheet, a feat sure to bring a smile to young keeper Harry Cakarun. With three points and another clean sheet in hand, the Knights, on equal footing with Bentleigh Greens, sit third on the ladder after five rounds.

Impressing punters early, the Knights have won four of their last five matches (WWLWW). Importantly for the Knights, midfielder Anthony Duzel looks to be finally maturing as a player, impressing onlookers in his last two matches and even scoring against Dandenong City. This shouldn’t come to too much of a surprise for the Knights faithful, with the youngster key to the Knights’ successful 2018 CSAA Tournament win.

Speaking to the Star Weekly on Duzel’s success, coach Micky Colina had this to say;

“I’m really happy for him, he’s worked hard and he’s had quite a few good weeks”

“We’re a young squad and someone like that, who you give an opportunity to from round one, it’s good to see that he’s been effective and influential in the games … and deservedly got himself on the scoresheet with a well worked goal.”

This week, the Knights face off against Port Melbourne SC, who currently sit in the bottom half of the table in 11th place. The Sharks, on four points, have had a shaky start to their season, having lost three of their first five matches (DLLWL), only recording a win against Paco away where they beat them 1-0. The side has also only scored two goals in their last five, attributed to Sam Ford and skipper Michael Eagar.

Head to head, the sides have faced off on a total of 13 occasions since 2013, with the Knights winning eight of those matches and drawing three. Goals also don’t seem to be a problem against the Sharks, with the Knights pumping 22 past the Sharks (1.7 per game). Vice versa, the Sharks have only won two games against the Knights and scored a total of 12 goals (0.9 per game). Of those matches, seven have been played at home with five being won.

Last 5 Matches against Port Melbourne:

2018 NPL Rd 24: MKFC 3-2 PMSC

2018 NPL Rd 11: PMSC 0-2 MKFC

2017 NPL Rd 19: PMSC 4-1 MKFC

2017 NPL Rd 06: MKFC 4-0 PMSC

2016 NPL Rd 17: MKFC 1-0 PMSC

Looking at round six more globally, records since 1975 shows that the knights have a 40/25/35 win/draw/loss split.

Last 5 Round 6 Results:

2018 NPL: Melbourne Knights 3-2 South Melbourne

2017 NPL: Melbourne Knights 4-0 Port Melbourne

2016 NPL: Richmond 1-1 Melbourne Knights

2015 NPL: Werribee City 2-1 Melbourne Knights

2014 NPL: Melbourne Knights 0-1 South Melbourne

All in all, the match will prove to be a mental test for the Knights who have the quality to dispose of the opposition however the side needs to be vigilant of the threats that Port Melbourne pose.

Team News

Melbourne Knights FC Squad:

1.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.

Unavaliable

Yutaro Shin – injury

Port Melbourne SC Squad:

1. Matthew Symes (GK), 2. Amadu Koroma, 3. Michael Lee, 4. Michael Eagar (C), 6. Alan Mulcahy, 7. Francesco Stella, 8. Maker Maker, 9. Sam Ford, 10. Daniel Clark, 11. Caio De Godoy, 12. Valentin Cesnik, 14. Kamal Ibrahim, 16. Alan Kearney, 18. Finn Beakhurst, 20. Nicholas Eres (GK), 22. Yuta Konagaya, 25. Jonathan Sebastian Munoz

Round 6 Match Details

Date: Friday 22nd March 2019

Kick-off: 7:45pm

Venue: Knights Stadium

Match Official: Jonathan Barreiro

Forecast at 7:45pm: 30 degrees

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