South deliver Knights first defeat of the season

Melbourne Knights tasted defeat for the first time this season, going down 2-1 to South Melbourne in the Original Derby at Lakeside Stadium on Monday night.

MATCH DETAILS

NPL Victoria 2023 – Round 3: South Melbourne v Melbourne Knights

Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park

Monday, 6 March

South Melbourne – 2 (Marco JANKOVIC 7’, Patrick LANGLOIS 47’)

Melbourne Knights – 1 (Gian ALBANO 56’)

Gian Albano’s second half penalty proved to be a mere consolation for a Knights side who despite creating the majority of chances were undone by goals from Marco Jankovic and Patrick Langlois.

Knights made two changes to the side that drew with Oakleigh last Friday night with Jack Morton replacing Club Captain Ivan Franjic who missed the match through illness while Steve Whyte returned from suspension to start in midfield.

South took the lead in the seventh minute when Jankovic rose highest to nod home a Max Mikkola long throw at the back post.

From there it was Knights who held the majority of possession and chances with Gian Albano and Gevaro Nepomuceno forcing South shot stopper Javi Lopez into several fine saves in the opening stanza.

Just two minutes after the restart South had their second of the night through Langlois, who ghosted in at the far post to head the ball into the back of the net after Marcus Schroen’s initial effort forced Chris Oldfield into a flying save.

Ten minutes later Knights pulled a goal back through Albano, who calmly sent Lopez the wrong way from the spot after the keeper brought Ciaran Bramwell down inside the area.

For the remainder of the match Knights pushed hard for the equaliser with Bramwell coming oh so close with a strike from the edge of the area ten minutes from time.

From the resulting corner Albano weaved his way into the penalty area causing chaos in the South penalty area with his curling strike that Ajak Riak managed to block with his chest.

In closing moments a huge chance fell to Mohammed Sumaoro on the top of the box but the forward was unable to find the conviction required in his strike to beat Lopez as the home side hung on the take all three points.

Speaking post-match Melbourne Knights Head Coach Ben Cahn said he was proud of the shift put in by his side despite the result in Monday’s derby.

“Obviously, we’re bitterly disappointed with the result, we know how much the derby means to everybody involved with the club,” Cahn said. 

“But there were a lot positives and I was happy with the performance and the progress we made, I thought we deserved to win the game. 

“They’re effective at what they do, they defend deep and play for set pieces and with Max’s (Mikkola) throw they’re a constant threat.

“We’re disappointed to concede the goals we did, we dealt with their set pieces well all night but it only takes one and the second goal really came out of nothing. 

“We need to recover well and work hard this week to make sure we’re prepared to give everything against Bentleigh. 

“We’ll need to bring the same intensity and energy to control the game and we need to be a little bit more aggressive in the front third.

“If we do that, I’m very confident we can get the three points and start to go on a run.”

Next up for Knights is a return to Somers Street on Sunday evening where they’ll face Bentleigh Greens.

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