Hellas claims bragging rights in first derby

Despite a competitive match-up, the Melbourne Knights have suffered a 2-0 defeat to long time rivals Hellas in the OG Melbourne Derby.

Starting XI:

Thomas Manos (GK), Jack Marth, Fuki Ishibashi, Thiery Iradukunda, Ayden Brice (C), Luka Celic, Andy Robertson, Anthony Frangie, Mohammad Sumaoro, Jack Morton, Steve Sokol

Substitutes:

Adam Bacic (GK), Atilla Ofli, James McGarry, Gian Albano, Luka Kolic, Ivan Miletic

After a long time between drinks, the Knights returned to Lakeside Stadium, with a slightly rotated line-up to last week. Jack Marth was welcomed back to the starting 11, as was Steve Sokol who earned his first start for the club since joining.

As expected, the first half was full of physicality from both sides, with Steve Sokol and former Knight Alun Webb trying to leave their mark on the match for the majority of the first half. Despite the Knights’ creativity up front, play was dominated by Hellas, who endured chances aplenty from the Knights. Two free kicks midway through the first half gave demanded vigilance from goalkeeper Thomas Manos to keep the home side at bay.

Moments before the end of the half, Hellas, from a throw in, was able to pinch the the lead. At 43 minutes, a long throw in found its way in the box, where Patrick Langlois met it to break the deadlock. After the whistle, the Knights went into the half with a one-goal deficit, with plenty was still to play for in the second period.

During the second half the Knights took charge, launching plenty of chances forward in the hope of an equaliser but disappointingly for Knights fans in attendance, Hellas made it two from a counterattack.

Some quick play on the wing provided a cross into former Victory frontman, Jai Ingham, who patiently waited on the box, before slotting the ball past Manos to double the home sides’ lead.

In a wave of excitement, additional time saw the Knights pull one back via the work of substitute Gian Albano, however, the linesman’s flag was up and the goal was deemed offside moments before the full time whistle. At full time, the home side rolled to victory as 2-0 victors.

Next week the Knights return home to Somers Street for back to back home games with the hope of returning to the winners’ list. They face 10th placed Bentleigh Greens, who also sit with a single win and two losses.

– Tom Hayes

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