Football is back at Knights Stadium and there’s a seat with your name on it! The Melbourne Knights will make their long-awaited return to Somers Street tomorrow night, when they host league leaders – Avondale FC.
Round 18 action of the 2021 NPL Victoria season will kick-off at Knights Stadium, with the Knights hopeful of ending Avondale’s unbeaten run and close the gap points wise between the two clubs.
The Knights currently sit in fifth, and a win would prove to be important to stay in distance of the leaders, though a loss could throw them back in the mix to fight for finals football. Avondale have relished in a successful campaign thus far; sitting five points clear of the Knights and atop of the league. To date, Avondale have only lost one match this season, in round three to Green Gully. Will Friday be their second loss of the season remains to be seen.
After dominating the first half, the Knights enjoyed a late 3-2 win when they visited Hume City last weekend. After taking a 2-nil lead, the home side fought back to equalise after 63 minutes. With under ten minutes on the clock, Hume were reduced to ten men, assisting the Knights in their pursuit of victory. The Knights regained the lead when a cross into the box from Alun Webb connected with Hume midfielder Pat Langlois, resulting in an own goal.
The Avengers on the other hand extended their streak to 11 last week, when they comfortably defeated Dandenong City 3-nil at home. It was a horror start for the visitors who were reduced to ten men after only 17 minutes and Avondale took the lead just prior to the break. Following the break, Dandenong City saw red again, and had to play out the final 25 minutes with nine men. Avondale scored twice more to securely take the three points.
These sides last faced in round five of this season, playing out a 1-1 draw. An exciting finish saw both goals scored within the final 15 minutes of the match. Avondale took the lead through Yusef Ahmed in the 78th minute, only for the Knights to take it down to the wire and equalise in the 92nd minute, thanks to Caleb Mikulic.
The Knights will have to pay particular attention to Stefan Valentini, who has proven to be resourceful up front, collecting 8 goals for himself this season, while his teammate Liam Boland sits on six goals for the Avengers.
Melbourne Knights FC:
2- Jack Marth, 3- Oliver Zafiridis, 4- Nikola Jurkovic, 5- Ayden Brice (C), 6- Anthony Duzel, 8- James McGarry, 9- Alun Webb, 10- Gian Albano, 11- Caleb Mikulic, 12- Oliver Cakarun, 13- Daniel Petrov, 14- Trevor Zwetsloot, 15- Felipe Sanchez, 16- Mohammed Sumaoro, 17- Trevor Ssemakula, 18- Dor Jok, 19- Nicholas Glavan, 21- Thomas Manos (GK), 23- Joseph Colina, 99- Harry Cakarun (GK)
Head Coach: Steve Bebic
1- Bon Scott (GK), 2- Scott Hilliar (C), 3- James Riccobene, 4- Charlie Beverley, 5- Mathew Reid, 7- Stefan Zinni, 8- Jem Berkant, 9- Liam Boland, 10- Jonatan Germano, 11- Yusuf Ahmed, 13- Yitay Towns, 14- Blake Carpenter, 17- Phil Riccobene, 18- Kristian Trajceski, 19- Brandon Lundy, 22- Stefan Valentini, 24- Yazid Said, 27- Dillon Jakupi, 33- Joey Katebian, 44- Rory Brian (GK)
Head Coach: Zoran Markovski
2021 NPL Victoria Round 18 – Melbourne Knights FC v Avondale FC
Date: Friday, June 25
Kick-off: 7:30PM (AEST)
Venue: Knights Stadium, Sunshine North
Where to watch: Livestream via Facebook & YouTube