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Knights win epic derby

Melbourne Knights have triumphed over rivals South Melbourne in dramatic fashion at a cold and wet Knights Stadium on Sunday.

Stipo Andrijasevic opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a perfectly curled shot to beat Nikola Roganovic after having been slipped through by Josh Brekalo.

The visitors equalised two minutes into the second half with a stunning Mathew Theodore volley that took one bounce and skidded beyond an outstretched Chris May and into the bottom corner.

The Knights retook the lead with 20 minutes remaining when substitute Chris Talajic was well positioned to take advantage of South’s failure to clear a cross, smashing the ball into the roof of the net to make it 2-1.

Yet five minutes into stoppage time a penalty was controversially awarded against Tomislav Uskok for handball, offering the visitors a chance to equalise in the dying seconds.

David Stirton took the penalty but for the second match running May pulled off a save against the odds and the full time whistle blew shortly after, cuing ecstatic celebrations from the players and home faithful in the pouring rain.

It took both teams a while to adapt to the saturating conditions in what was an old fashioned battle for long periods.

South had the first real opportunity just before half an hour when Milos Lujic got in behind.

May closed in and blocked the strike, but the ball deflected to Leigh Minopoulos whose shot was cleared off the line by Milan Batur, before May made another trademark diving save to keep out the follow-up effort from Minopoulos.

Soon after, Rodrigo Covarrubias had the ball in the net but was called offside in what seemed a very tight decision from the referee’s assistant.

But Andrijasevic broke through and scored ten minutes before half time and the Knights held on until Theodore’s classy equaliser.

Clear chances were few and far between in the second half, with Talajic finishing the one that came his way.

It was a famous win for Andrew Marth’s men, who after three derby losses this year finally got their revenge.

 

 

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Photo credit: Bulent Yontem

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