In Rome, it is Roma v Lazio and in the TeleChoice Premier League it is A.P.I.A. v Marconi. However, sadly, Marconi today is merely a shadow of that great team that once dominated the old NSL.
Full credit must go to A.P.I.A. because they showed determination and a never-say-die attitude against a Stallions outfit that was determined to come away with at least a point.
After the game A.P.I.A. coach John Romeo was very keen to play down the victory and keep it all in perspective.
?We knew today was going to be a tough battle because these games are historically tough, and we knew that there was a lot at stake,? he said.
?That win was very, very important for us to get a roll on because we knew that Marconi was going into this game not having a win yet this season.
?As far as we are concerned today was going to be a test, but in the end I was happy that we were able to go out there and play good football and get a result.
?Manly United next week will be another tough game, so we?ll just re-group and keep on battling and hopefully we?ll be alright.?
Romeo?s counterpart, Dave Barrett, was most disappointed with his Marconi Stallions side. Barrett, who ironically ended his playing career with a season at A.P.I.A. a few years ago, is definitely frustrated with how things haven?t gone his team?s way.
?I have been disappointed for six weeks now, so I hope that I?m not getting used to it,? he said laconically.
?We had a couple of good chances, we missed a penalty and we had two one-on-ones in the first-half, but unfortunately we are just not hitting the back of the net.
?It?s not that we don?t create chances ? we have chances ? we just don?t put them away.
?A.P.I.A. put us under a lot of pressure today; they knocked most things long and forced us into errors.
?We knew what we were going to expect, but we didn?t cope with it and conceded two soft goals,? he concluded.
In the 15? minute Tolgay Ozbey beautifully set-up Tallan Martin but his header was just off target. A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt replied in the 19? minute with a goal: Robert Younis found Stephen Kayes in an excellent position and the clever A.P.I.A. player, with far too much time on his hands, easily slotted the ball home for the home side.
In the 24? minute Michael Galluzzo miscued his header only to gift Ozbey the ball, but unfortunately for the Stallions it was Daniel Clifford who cleared off the line.
Marconi was at it again two minutes later when a Nahuel Arrarte free-kick was good enough to beat the wall but not Matthew Nash in the A.P.I.A. goal.
In the 37? minute A.P.I.A. scored again when the Marconi defence failed to clear the corner, Christian Care ? against his former club ? threaded the ball back in and Younis couldn?t believe his luck as he simply had to turn and score.
Just before the break Jason Trifiro intercepted a back pass, but he wasn?t able to get his shot on target because the ball sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
In the second-half, after both sides sized each other up, it was Ozbey in the 56? minute who had the first real chance with a shot from outside the area which sailed just wide of the post.
In the 63? minute Galluzzo brought down Ozbey in the box and the referee had no hesitation and indicated that it was a penalty. Ozbey dusted himself off and took the spot kick, but Nash showed why he is arguably the best goalkeeper in the TeleChoice Premier League by beautifully turning the ball wide as he stupendously dived to his right.
In the 77? minute Younis almost tried to do too much himself and the end result was that his good chance went begging.
Two minutes later, after Cem Akili had saved from Franco Parisi, Younis tried his luck from distance but his shot landed against the side netting.
The last real chance of the match arrived right at the death when Arrarte narrowly missed the target with a medium-range shot.
In the end, it was too little too late for the Stallions.
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers 2 (Stephen Kayes 19?, Robert Younis 37?)
Marconi Stallions 0
A.P.I.A. Leichhardt Tigers: Matthew Nash, John Kelso, Michael Galluzzo, David D?Apuzzo, Daniel Clifford, Chris Care (83? Jimmy Nikas) Stephen Kayes, Ian King, Robert Younis (89? Joe Bruni), Franco Parisi, Marton Vass (77? Peter Peralta).
Coach: John Romeo. Assistant: Mark Brady
Marconi Stallions: Cem Akili, Wade Oostendorp, Vuko Tomasevic, Nathan Moulds, Tallan Martin, Tolgay Ozbey, Matthew Gordon, Ante Deur, Jason Trifiro (70? Stefan Donevski), Nahuel Arrarte, Chris Nunes.
Coach: Dave Barrett. Assistant: Chris Minol
Referee: Jonathan Streater
Assistants: Allyson Flynn and Sarah Ho
Yellow Cards: Kayes, Younis, Care, King (A.P.I.A.); Tomasevic, Arrarte, Moulds and Akili (Marconi)
3 – Robert Younis (AL)
2 – Matthew Nash (AL)
1 – Michael Galluzzo (AL)
-By Joe Russo