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NPL R13 Preview – Knights vs. Thunder

The mid-point of the season is just around the corner Knights fans. Round 13 marks the end of the first half, with every team having faced off against each other. For the Knights, they return home to do battle against Dandenong Thunder FC.

Round 12 saw the Knights leave ABD Stadium empty handed, as the home side put three past the Knights, despite having an early 1-0 lead thanks to skipper Marijan Cvitkovic’s on target header. The match saw the Knights with multiple chances on goal; twice finding themselves one-on-one with James Kapuranovski, twice hitting the near post onto goal and once hitting the crossbar. With enough chances to win three matches, the Knights couldn’t hit the mark in the second half and suffered for it.

The end of round 12 saw the Knights slip two spots down to fifth on the ladder, with Bentleigh Greens and Green Gully jumping up to occupy third and fourth respectively. Despite being in fifth, the Knights share equal points (22 points) with Gully, and sit a win behind Bentleigh Greens (25 points). With the top half becoming increasing tight, every point makes a difference in separating the sides from each other.

With round 12 done and dusted, the Knights, the Knights now look to focus squarely on this week’s match up south-east based side, Dandenong Thunder FC. Importantly for the Knights, instrumental midfielder Tomislav Uskok returns to squad selection after serving out a one match ban for an accumulation of yellow cards. On the other hand, Daniel Visevic, Tom Podaridis and Jordan Gifkins remain sidelined due to injury.

With the midpoint of the season comes the mid-season transfer window, which opened on Tuesday the 14th of May and will remain open until Tuesday the 4th of June. Importantly for the Knights, the addition of young Kiwi midfielder Mohamed Awad will add a new element to the roster. Coming in as a replacement for Yutaro Shin, who departed the club due to injury, the explosive attacking midfielder had a breakout season with Eastern Suburbs after previously spending 3 years in the highly regarded American College system. Pending his International Transfer Clearance coming through, Awad will be available for selection for the match against the Thunder. Read more on Awad’s transfer here.

The visitors, on the other hand have found themselves in a bad stretch of form of late, with their last 5 win/draw/loss split set at LDDLL. After 12 rounds of football, the Thunder find themselves in the bottom half of the table, sitting in tenth position with 12 points to their name. The Thunder under Veton Korcari have only won three games to date, against Kingston City, Oakleigh Cannons and Dandenong City, all of whom find themselves in bottom half. Brandon Barnes, has again been pivotal for his side, making an appearance in every match thus far and netting five goals.

Given their current stretch of form, the Thunder will be cracking and ready to cause an upset to catalyse some form leading into the second half of their season. The Knights will also be looking to regain their winning ways, with the last recorded win coming back in April against Gully back in round ten.

Thunder

Round 13 Match Details

Date: Friday 17th May 2019

Kick-off: 7:45pm

Venue: Knights Stadium

Match Official: Jack Morgan

Team News

Melbourne Knights FC Squad:

1. Harry Cakarun, 2. Luke Jurcic, 4. Tom Podaridis, 5. Ayden Brice, 6. Tomislav Uskok, 8. Gian Albano, 9. Hamish Watson, 10. Marijan Cvitkovic, 11. Nikola Jurkovic, 12. Corey Sewell, 13. Ivan Grgic, 14. AJ lnia, 15. Adrian Tardio, 16. Mohamad Awad, 17. Daniel Visevic, 19. Anthony Duzel, 20. Jordan Gifkins, 25. Atila Ofli, 27. Joseph Franjic.

Dandenong Thunder FC Squad:

1. Pierce Clark, 2. Omar Ammache, 4. loannis Georgopoulos, 5. Mersim Memeti, 6. Nicholas Modaffari, 7. Blake Carpenter, 8. Jayke Cuschieri, 9. Peter Skapetis, 10. Brandon Barnes, 11. Kieran Dover, 13. Kane Runge, 16. Mohamad Feizi, 17. Alon Blumgart, 18. Christian Cavallo, 20. Sevdim lsmaili, 22. Festim Sulemanovski, 23. Ajdin Memeti, 29. Jack Musgrave, 99. Luke Gallo

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