By Paul Millar
(AAP, Sunday 12 November 2000)
Melbourne Knights coach Vlado Vanis had a thumping headache after his side was crushed 4-1 by South Melbourne tonight and it’s likely to linger into the week after this performance.
The Knights were outclassed, outplayed and out of touch against a South side that could have hit even more against its cross-town national soccer league rival.
Skipper Paul Trimboli converted two first half penalties to start the rot and Steve Panopoulos and Con Boutsianis finished the job in the second term.
Toto Da Costa headed home a late effort as South released its stranglehold against a side that lost heart and commitment well before the final whistle.
Vanis did not attend the post-match press conference sending his team manager John Sigur in his place saying he had a headache.
If Vanis was too embarrassed to show his face it was not surprising, his charges might have been red faced as they trudged off Bob Jane but it wasn’t from putting in the effort.
“It seems at this stage that some of the players think this league is a lot easier than it is,” Sigur said of the young and inexperienced Knights.
South on the other hand was filled with hardened professionals who carved up the teenage hopefuls.
South coach Mick Petersen said his side had shown a little of what it was capable of but with a four goal buffer had dropped off its concentration.
“To climb the tree and win the championship you have to play for 90 minutes,” Petersen said.
“We are not by any stretch of the imagination slapping ourselves on the back yet.”
Jason Vukadin hauled down Con Boutsianis 15 minutes into the game and Trimboli drilled the spot kick home for South’s first shot on target.
The captain doubled the lead from the penalty spot 15 minutes later when Sasa Ognenovski hacked down Andy Vlahos in the box.
South’s dominance by this time was almost total and Zeljko Susa rattled the foot of the post just before the turn as South turned on the power.
Trimboli then cut the ball back to Panopoulos who slotted it home five minutes after the break.
Panopoulos next found Boutsianis unmarked on the left and he curled a left footer inside the post and South had a 4-0 cushion just after the hour.
Trimboli should have snared a hat-trick when he skipped through the backline and went wide when it looked easier to score.
Joel Porter nudged a late header to Da Costa who nodded into the net to put a touch of respect on the scoresheet with five minutes to play.
It wasn’t deserved as the Knights had already given up hope well before the end.