It’s another exciting clash Knights fans, as the Knights – who still sit in the top six – face off against eleventh placed and fellow Croatian club Dandenong City SC.
With the FFA Cup matches settling down for a period, the Knights can squarely focus on NPL football, this week coming face to face with a newly refurbished Dandenong City outfit.
With only two days rest between their FFA Cup match and next NPL match, the Knights bitterly lost to the Bentleigh Greens. Despite a fiery start from both sides, the match quickly descended into end to end play for the majority of the first half which ended with captain Joseph Franjic being given his marching orders. With the home sides victory seemingly in their hands, the fourth official called for four minutes of extra time which saw Bentleigh score their final goal. As the full-time whistle blew, the Knights were dealt with their worst loss of the season, going down to Bentleigh 4-0. The loss see’s the side slip down one spot since last week, rounding out the top six on 26 points. Despite the loss, the Knights will be looking to bounce back quickly and emulate their FFA Cup successes in the NPL.
This week will see the Knights without Harry Cakarun who is still nursing a broken finger and skipper Joseph Franjic, who will serve out a two week ban after receiving a red card against Bentleigh Greens.
After being knocked out of the FFA Cup by Preston Lions early in April, Dandenong City have managed to turn their luck around. After departing with former head coach Zeljko Kuzman and assistant Steve Bebic in mid-April and since singing former A-League stars Adrian Leijer, Carl Valeri and Brendan Santalab, Dandy City have been able to not lose a match since the beginning of May (their last loss being served by Bentleigh Greens), with their last six outings resulting in either wins or draws.
After letting go of five players to make room in the squad for the new signings, Dandenong City have managed to climb out from bottom place (14th), out of the relegation zone into 11th place (16 points) in the span of six weeks.
Brendan Santalab has been impactful for the side, already netting three goals for Dandy, one short of Anthony Poljak and James Kelly who sit on four. In what can only be considered bad luck, Dandy City lost another key signing – Adrian Leijer – after only playing one match, due to a head injury sustained against South Melbourne FC.
The last time the two sides meet this year, the Knights made the trip out east to the Frank Holohan Soccer Complex and were able to defeat Dandy City 2-0 at home. It’s safe to say that this match up will be fiery, with both clubs not looking to drop more points, and more importantly with some bragging rights up for grab, with each club vying to be the top tier Croatian club in the NPL.
Round 18 Match Details
Date: Friday 21st June 2019
Venue: Knights Stadium
Match Official: Michael Mammis
Melbourne Knights FC Squad:
1. Thomas Skoff, 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 Inia, 15. Adrian Tardio, 16. Mohamed Awad, 17. Daniel Visevic, 19. Anthony Duzel, 20. Jordan Gifkins, 25. Atila Ofli
1.Harry Cakarun, 27. Joseph Franjic
Dandenong City SC Squad:
1.Damir Salcin(GK), 4. Luke Eyles, 6. Carl Valeri ,7. Shayan Alinejad, 8. Zac Thompson, 10. Samuel Sibatuara, 11. Brendan Santalab, 12. Shaun Filipovic, 13. Gregory Lombardo, 14. Jyden Unmack, 16. Stefan King, 17. Liam McCormick, 19. James Kelly, 20. Anthony Poljak, 21. Stipo Andrijasevic, 24. Luke Pilkington, 25. Adrian Leijer, 36. Steven Topalovic (C)