Tigers flex muscles after squashing Berries

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However, this game was a lot more than just a repeat performance for the Tigers ? it was a much more convincing victory than what they showed against Sydney Olympic at the same venue.
West Sydney Berries played well in the first period of the first-half, but that was about it for the visitors on the positive side of the ledger. A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt not only dominated play, and eventually the scoreboard, but also missed a plethora of chances. It could have been a lot more had the goal-shy Tigers taken full advantage of their chances.
This is clearly a team still not used to outplaying so comprehensively an opposition and it showed. A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt, with confidence battered and bruised after a horrendous beginning to the season, may look to this game as a watershed performance if things start to turn the corner.
The opening chances of the game nevertheless belonged to the Berries, but it wasn?t to last long as A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt took control and thoroughly deserved to be two goals up at the half-time break.
In the 10? minute Peter Peralta against his former club found himself in a good shooting position, only to be denied by an alert Matthew Nash between the sticks.
In the 21? minute Dimitri Zakilas tried his luck from just outside the box, but was not able to surprise Nash who made no mistake again and proved to be safe pair of hands even though he wasn?t required to do too much else in the game.
Once A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt got on a roll, there was no stopping them. Two crossbars and two goals in the second part of the first half are only a small testimony to their dominance.
In the 27? minute Robert Younis hit the woodwork with a nice shot that fell into the path of Matthew Fsadni but, even though the latter did manage to steer the ball into the net, he was ruled to be in an offside position.
In the 31? minute A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt did take the lead when Hirofumi Moriyasu found himself with too much space and charged towards goal; the ?Emperor of Japan?, as he has already been nicknamed by some fans, fired his shot on goal though it was somewhat fortuitous when it seemed to ricochet off the grass and bounce over the out-coming goalkeeper.
Sometimes in football a team deserves a bit of luck and, in this case, both ?Emperor? Moriyasu and A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt certainly couldn?t be begrudged a bit of good fortune.
Only a few minutes later Younis turned provider for Rizzo on the left but the speedy, creative midfielder was off target with his shot on the run when it could so nearly have been two.
In the 41? minute Fsadni was given far too space by the Berries defence and was allowed to put in a delightful chip that ended up against the crossbar with goalkeeper Hamish McLean well beaten.
The home fans didn?t have to wait too long because Rizzo finally found the back of the net after receiving a nice through ball.
The former Crystal Palace player had no trouble beating the gallant McLean who was left stranded by his own defenders.
In the second-half A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt continued from where they had left off at in the first-half. Confidence was growing and it showed.
In the 53? minute Rizzo set up Younis and the latter, once again given free reign by the defence, menacingly charged towards goal and beat the Berries? goalkeeper to make it three.
In the 63? minute a lovely cross reached Rizzo and, putting in arguably his best performance since the beginning of the season, he forced McLean to make a very good save.
Younis went close shortly afterwards but as he charged towards the by-line and fired across a lovely ball into McLean?s path, the Berries goalkeeper just managed to deviate it away for a corner.
At this point there appeared to be only one team interested and, given that the Berries were down by three goals, it was at least partially understandable.
However, there was nothing to understand about A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt?s fourth goal: it was simply magnificent.
?Emperor? Moriyasu in all his glory fired in a rocket from some 30-metres. The ball swerved, curled and appeared to even dance ballet-style through the air to leave all and sundry dumbfounded before crashing into the net.
If there is a better goal in 2010 it will truly be beyond description because Moriyasu?s effort was breathtaking.
Younis nearly made it five when Moriyasu beautifully gave him the ball in the 77? minute in some space, but the tall striker blasted his effort just over the crossbar.
Bishara Stephan then entered the arena for the Tigers and in the space of a couple of minutes he had two fine efforts.
His first attempt forced McLean into a good save and his second was just off target when he should really have made the Berries pay.
Late in the game Zakilas hit the woodwork for the Berries but it was a trickle compared to a tsunami as the Berries were comprehensively outplayed.
After the game the Berries dressing room was cleared within minutes as both players and officials, in sombre moods, made a quick exit to evaluate what had happened.
Over in the Tigers? den it was a different story and Manny Ziino, A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt?s senior official, humbly summed up the performance by saying:
?The commitment to each other and the passion that we displayed were our strong points today,? he said.
?We played well as a team and the whole eleven played well today to be honest.
?However, we could have made the Berries play a bit more but we didn?t. Even though our boys were focussed, committed and played well, there is still more we could have done today.
?Everyone at A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt knows what this team is capable of doing and we showed glimpses of it today but we are not getting carried away with ourselves based on this one good performance.?

Meanwhile, in the Grade 20s A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt defeated West Sydney Berries 5-1.

Match Stats
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers 4 (Hirofuni Moriyasu 31?, 75?, Nick Rizzo 42?, Robert Younis 53?)

West Sydney Berries 0

Sunday, 25th April, 2010

Leichhardt Oval, Leichhardt
Referee: Khodr Yaghi
Assistant Referees: Paul Faithfull and Nick Backo
Fourth Official: Cameron Bruce
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers: 1.Matthew Nash; 2.Mark Byrnes, 3.John Kelso, 5.Michael West, 6.Marton Vass, 19.Danial Cummins, 16.Hirofuni Moriyasu, 17.Matthew Fsadni (8.Anthony Hartshorn 44?), 11.Nick Rizzo, 9.Robert Younis (18.Bishara Stephen 79?), 10.Franco Parisi (20.Liam McConaghy 85?).
Substitutes Not Used: 40.Terry Dal Broi, 15.David Dascal, 4.Joseph Cartisano
Yellow Cards: Fsadni 39?, West 44?, Younis 70? 
Red Cards: Nil
West Sydney Berries: 1.Hamish McLean; 2.David Gardiner, 4.Daniel Clifford, 7.Peter Peralta, 3.Omar Saadi (20.James O?Rourke 73?), 8.Jessie Pinto (15.Ryan Jones 54?), 16.Kosta Lagoudakis, 12.Stefan De Jesus, 17.Sash Tirovski, 10.Fadi Ghosson (21.Damir Prodanovic 66?), 19.Dimitri Zakilas
Substitutes Not Used: 40.Nestor Tsioustas, 23.Alex Sopina
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings:
3 – Hirofuni Moriyasu (ALT)
2 – Nick Rizzo (ALT)
1 – Danial Cummins (ALT)
-By Joe Russo