The Melbourne Knights return to the pitch this weekend to face Dandenong City, following the second break of the season due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 restrictions put the season to grinding halt following round 20 action, when another local lockdown was put in place. After the postponement of rounds 21 and 22, we now enter round 23, with the Knights returning to formal training on Wednesday.
In the Knights most previous match three weeks ago, thee side put on an impressive performance to draw 1-1 with the Oakleigh Cannons. A penalty to the Cannons in the second half broke the deadlock, before the Knights equalised through Mohamed Sumaoro to go on and dominate the remainder of the match. The result keeps the Knights slightly out of the top six on goal difference, but well within a chance to secure that spot before the finals arrive.
Dandenong City faced their relegation rivals – Altona Magic, before COVID-19 restrictions paused their season. The two sides also playing out a 1-1, however only just. Altona took the lead minutes before half time through Jonas Markovski, and led until the 90th minute. That was until Nick Kalmar scored in the 91st minute to pinch a point for his side. The result kept both sides on 11 points – Dandenong sitting in the relegation zone just beneath Altona on the table on goal difference.
When these sides met in round 10, the Knights claimed all three points in a 1-0 finish at Knights Stadium. An Alun Webb winner in the 80th minute was all that split the sides after 90 minutes. Dandenong’s night went from bad to worse when Marko Delic was sent off minutes after going 1-0 down, to add salt to their wounds.
Since Dandenong City’s arrival in the state’s top-flight in 2019, the sides have faced three times. The Knights have prevailed twice, and City have won once. Every time a side has gone on to win, they have held the opposition scoreless.
Unfortunately, this weekend see no fans able to attend live matches. But the next best thing is on offer as Melbourne Croatia look to welcome back Knights fans to home soil, playing the matches live inside and in the beer garden.
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- Mohamad 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
Dandenong City SC:
1- Jasko Keranovic (GK), 4- Nathan Cook, 5- Luke Eyles, 7- Delarno Pharoe, 8- Gavin De Niese, 9- Brayden Mann, 10- Nuh Sehavdic, 11- Aleks Taleski, 13- Jacob Brito, 14- Jayden Unmack, 16- Liam Kennedy (GK), 17- Liam McCormick, 18- Christian Cavallo, 19- Tom Podaridis, 20- Kody Maude, 22- Josh Urbina, 23- Nick Kalmar, 36- Steve Topalovic (C), Nicholas Dib, Dylan Muhar
Head Coach: Micky Colina
2021 NPL Vic Round 23 – Dandenong City SC v Melbourne Knights FC
Date: Friday, July 30
Kick-off: 8:30PM (AEST)
Venue: Frank Holohan Soccer Complex, Endeavour Hills
Where to watch: Livestream via Facebook and YouTube