The Melbourne Knights have kicked off the 2022 season in perfect fashion, knocking over Croatian rivals Dandenong City 5-0 in the opening game of the season.
Thomas Manos (GK), Fuki Ishibashi, Thiery Iradukunda, Ayden Brice (C), Luka Celic, Gian Albano, Andy Robertson, Anthony Frangie, Mohammad Sumaoro, Trevor Ssemakula, Jack Morton
Adam Bacic (GK), Jack Marth, Atilla Ofli, James McGarry, Luka Kolic, Steve Sokol
The Knights were rampant from the kick-off, despite a few early chances going the way of the home side.
An opener to the Knights split the difference early, allowing them to place their hold on the match. Newcomer, Anthony Frangie, opened his Knights account with a ridiculous volley from just inside the box to give the visitors the advantage.
Dandenong City did not hold back, with plenty of rash challenges resulting in yellow cards. Jack Morton was also cautioned within the commotion, before the Knights doubled their lead.
In a scintillating first half showing, Frangie secured his brace in the 36th minute with a knowledgeable header from close range. The forward asserted his dominance in the Knights attack, making his presence known – allowing the Knights to go 2-0 up at the half.
In the 57th minute, Steve Sokol, or as he is known amongst fans – The Falcon – was introduced for his debut, replacing Luka Celic. Sokol made the most of his substitution, making an impression early.
Only 10 minutes after being brought into the match, Sokol was well in the mix of things. A well-controlled chested touch gave him enough space and time to dink the keeper from the edge of the area and give the Knights a soaring third goal.
Former Knights Junior Luka Kolic was introduced to make his senior debut, after being promoted to the senior side for this season, replacing Gian Albano up front in the 73rd minute. After scoring a brace on his debut, Anthony Frangie was rewarded with an early shower, being replaced by Atilla Ofli.
The Knights continued the rotations going into the final 10 minutes. James McGarry replaced Jack Morton in the midfield, while Jack Marth replenished the defence, coming on for Trevor Ssemakula.
Within the final five minutes of the game, fatigue began to set in for the home side, allowing the Knights to pounce. Mohammad Sumaoro netted his first of the season beating Formosa with power, to make it four for the Knights
90 seconds later, the Knights made it five! Substitute and debutant Kolic coming off the bench to bundle his first senior goal over the line. Speaking on his debut, Kolic lamented that he had dreamt of this moment since he was a little kid. “I love this club so I couldn’t be happier. Such a honour to wear the Knights jersey and to play in front of our fans.”
At the full-time whistle the score line was frozen at Dandenong City, nil, Melbourne Knights, five, as the Knights came, saw and conquered their opening task of the season.
Next week, the Knights return to Somers Street for the first time this season, as they face last-season’s top team Avondale FC on Friday. Don’t miss your chance to see the Knights in action.
– Tom Hayes