The Melbourne Knights have been crowned champions of both the Men’s and Women’s 2013 Victorian Croatian Cup. A crowd of over 400 gathered at North Geelong Warriors home ground, Elcho Park to support the hosts as well as Dandenong City, St Albans Saints and the Melbourne Knights in the traditional pre-season tournament.
The Melbourne Knights Men’s campaign kick off with a 2-0 win over Dandenong City with goals from Anthony Duzel and Brandon Zezovski. The young squad were unable to solidify their spot in the final by backing up their good performance with a win, going down 3-1 to St Albans in the second match. In their last group game, the Melbourne Knights defeated hosts, North Geelong Warriors, convincingly conceding only 1 goal and netting 4. With the Knights’ spot solidified in the finals, the nil all draw in the final group game between Dandenong and St Albans was enough to put St Albans through to face the Knights again.
The Knights took the lead in the Croatian Cup Final thanks to a wonderful strike from U21 captain, Nicholas Jurcic, before extending their lead with a goal from Adrian Rastocic. Ahead 2 – 0 at half time, the young Knights squad continued to exert pressure under the guidance of coach Zeljko Gagula, resulting in a lovely finish from newly promoted former U21 player, Abu Konteh. With the result already decided, St Albans had two players sent off thanks to a clumsy challenge on Christopher Talajic. Against the 9 men of St Albans, and in the dying minutes of the match, Rastocic secured a brace to put the result beyond doubt.
For the first time in the cup’s tradition, women from all four competing clubs were invited to take part in the tournament. The Knights started well with a solid win over Dandenong City, before working hard to secure draws against St Albans and North Geelong. The Knights Women left little doubt as to their skill in the final, however, as they comfortably took the inaugural title through goals from Kladaric (2) and Zilic.
Next year’s Vic Cro Cup Tournament will be hosted by Dandenong.