Knights back on the winners list

Melbourne Knights have completed their first ever NPL Victoria league double over Bentleigh Greens with a 1-0 win at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex on Saturday afternoon.

Mohammad Sumaoro’s sixth league goal of the season proved decisive as Knights picked up win number 10 and clean sheet number four of the league campaign in Saturday’s Round 17 victory.

Chances were at a premium on a challenging surface in a tightly fought opening stanza with Ciaran Bramwell and Gian Albano coming closest for the Knights while Manase Abandelwa rattled the crossbar for the Greens in closing stages of the half.

The breakthrough came in the 59th minute when Sumaoro was played in by Luka Kolic on the end of a well worked team move before cutting inside and rifling an effort from the top of the box past an outstretched Bon Scott and into the back of the net.

Sumaoro’s second half strike sends him level with Albano & Bramwell as the club’s top scorers in the league this season with six goals.

The Knights number 16’s shot conversion rate of 29% is the best of any player in the NPL Victoria this season.

From that point onwards neither side was able to add to the scoring with Bramwell forcing Scott into some strong saves while the Knights defensive unit which was boosted by the return of Ivan Franjic limited the Greens attack to few sights on goal.

Saturday’s win leaves Knights in fourth position on the NPL Victoria league table, seven points ahead of fifth placed Port Melbourne who they host at Knights Stadium next Friday night.

Before that clash is an Australia Cup Preliminary Round 7 match-up against State League One North-West outfit Yarraville Glory at Somers Street on Tuesday night with the chance to qualify for the national Round of 32 on the line.

Speaking post-match Melbourne Knights Head Coach, Ben Cahn said he was pleased to come away with an important three points.

“It was an important three points for us today, not an easy game at all but great to come away with the win,” Cahn said.

“They’re a very difficult side to play against, Riccardo (Marchioli) set them up well, they’re always in the game and they’ve got some players that are a constant threat.

“I was happy with how we managed it, it’s a difficult surface to play on at the moment but we still played some really good stuff.

“We lacked a bit of spark in the front third for periods of the game but Mo (Sumaoro) saved us again.

“We’ll focus on recovering well and we’ll make sure we’re ready for a big week ahead.”

MATCH DETAILS

NPL Victoria 2023 – Round 17: Bentleigh Greens v Melbourne Knights

Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, Cheltenham

Saturday, 10 June

Bentleigh Greens – 0

Melbourne Knights – 1 (Mohammad SUMAORO 59’)

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