A composed Melbourne Knights have continued their winning start to the season, seeing off Dandenong City in a comfortable 2-0 win away from home.
Keeping the same formula as last weeks win over Bentleigh, the Knights made no changes to last weeks starting 11 but did include substitute Adrian Tardio in place of AJ Inia.
— Melbourne Knights FC (@MelbKnights) March 15, 2019
The Knights had a dream start to the match, taking the lead in the ninth minute thanks to piece of play originating with Knights forward Gian Albano, who earnt a free kick on the edge of the box. The ensuing free kick taken by skipper Marijan Cvitkovic was dealt with by former Knights midfielder turned full-back Shayan Alinejad, who cleared and took control of the ball deep in his own box. It looked as though the danger had passed for Dandenong City, however, Cvitkovic pressured the ball, dispossessed his opponent and sent in a quick-fire low cross into the front post area. Unfortunately for Dandenong, the goal was turned in by captain Steven Topalovic, even though from certain angles of the ground it looked like it was Knights forward Hamish Watson who got a foot to the ball.
That calmed the nerves of the Knights’ XI and two subsequent golden opportunities fell to Gian Albano and Marijan Cvitkovic, with each shot near carbon copies of each other. Both were clear on goal with only the keeper to beat, but both times Dandenong’s custodian Kile Kennedy came to the rescue, coming out to tighten the angle towards goal and forcing both Cvitkovic and Albano to fire from close range.
Without a true clear cut chance on goal, the first half petered out, despite Dandenong City attempting to work their way back into the match
The second half saw the Knights continue to control the tempo, however always weary of the threat that Dandenong City posed and knowing that a one goal lead would not be sufficient in securing the three points.
A chance from nothing did eventuate for the home side, with a wide ball over the top of the Knights defence allowing last week’s hat trick hero Antonio Poljak the chance to head the ball over Cakarun who was stuck in no man’s land, however the ball skidded off the top of the crossbar and out of danger.
The chance put the Knights into action with midfield trio of Franjic, Uskok and Duzel beginning to drive more aggressively forward in search of the goal that would kill off the match. It was Uskok who found himself up high in Dandenong’s defensive third who laid the ball off to Albano on the wing who cut back to the approaching Duzel who met the ball sweetly from a low volley and slotted it squarely into the bottom corner for a textbook finish in the 72nd.
From here the Knights were content to control possession in the aim of frustrating their opponents. When Dandenong did have short bursts of possession and were able to threaten the Knights goal, defenders Ayden Brice and Corey Sewell were swift in dealing with the danger without too much hassle.
Knights coach Micky Colina was happy to single out the growth of Anthony Duzel who has had a coming of age of sorts in the 2019 season with his potential now translating into ability to match it with opposition midfields.
“I’m really happy for him, he has worked hard and he’s had quite a few good weeks.
“It’s pleasing to see from a team perspective that he’s been effective and influential in the games and deservedly got himself on the scoresheet with a first-time finish after some good work out wide.”
The win sees the Knights in outright third spot at the end of round five of the NPL Victoria, three points off first placed Avondale and behind second place Bentleigh on goal difference. The win also sees the Knights two points ahead of fourth placed Heidelberg and three ahead of fifth placed Green Gully who are on nine points.
This Friday night the club is back at home against tenth placed Port Melbourne who have had a slow start to life in 2019. With the weather anticipated to hit 31 degrees throughout the day – it’s a great time to come out to Somers Street, grab your membership, have a feed and enjoy the entertainment on offer.
Melbourne Knights 2
(Topalovic (OG) 9’, Duzel 75’)
Dandenong City 0
Melbourne Knights: 1. Harry Cakarun, 2. Luke Jurcic (4. Tom Podaridis 78′), 6. Tomislav Uskok, 8. Gian Albano, 9. Hamish Watson (13. Ivan Grgic 86′), 10. Marijan Cvitkovic (25.Atilla Ofli 80’), 11. Nikola Jurkovic,, 12. Corey Sewell, 13. Ayden Brice, 19. Anthony Duzel, 27. Joseph Franjic
Dandenong City: 7. Shayan Alinejad, 8. Zac Thompson, 11. Mark Ochieng (13. Gregory Lombardo 78′), 12. Shaun Filipovic, 16. Kile Kennedy (GK), 17. Liam Mccormick, 19. James Kelly, 20. Anthony Poljak (10. Anthony Theo 78′), 24. Luke Pilkington (14. Jayden Unmack 59′), 36. Steven Topalovic, 55. Petar Franjic