Marconi’s bacon saved by two penalties in thriller at Belmore


It was the classic game of two halves ? Sydney Olympic had the better of play in the first and Marconi won the second.
After the game Sydney Olympic?s caretaker player-coach Andre Gumprecht who replaced outgoing manager Pat Marando admitted as much when he said: ?The team in the first-half especially showed what they are capable of doing.
?It is now basically up to us to extend this playing style to 60, 70, 80 and eventually 90? minutes.
?In the second-half we were running out of legs a little bit and maybe through a bit of inexperience we lost the half.?
Nevertheless perspective on a game is everything and Marconi?s mentor Lee Sterrey, who briefly coached Sydney Olympic in the last days of the old National League, saw things quite differently.
He offered: ?I was happy even with the first0half because there wasn?t a shot from Olympic in the first half hour and we committed suicide on both goals.?
The opening chance of the game fell to Alex Canak in the 10? minute when he fired his header from a Tim McGowan corner straight onto the crossbar.
In the 30? minute Sydney Olympic almost opened the scoring when an Ian Ramsay cross from the left was fisted away by James Chronopoulos straight into the face of an oncoming Olympic player and the ball rebounded just over the crossbar.
It would have been a comical goal had it gone in and, for a few centimetres less, it would have.
In the 37? minute Olympic opened the scoring when a powerful shot by Chris Triantis almost ended up in the back of the net, but was parried away by a diving Chronopoulos who could only steer the ball into the path of Matthew Mayora who, from close-range, basically used his chest to steer the ball into the goal.
A short while later Cedric Ramirez gave a beautiful ball to Triantis who fired away at goal only to see the ball sail narrowly over the crossbar.
Right on half-time Sydney Olympic doubled their lead when a Triantis ball was met poorly by a Ramirez hook shot but somehow it fell into the path of an unmarked Mayora who simply couldn?t miss the target.
?Overall our usage of the ball could have been better in the first-half but it wasn?t that poor and we, through Canak, hit the post with a header and if we had have scored there we would have been in front,? said Lee Sterrey.
?We [Matthew Gordon] gave away an easy ball for their first goal when we were in transition football and we made a stupid error in the second Olympic goal because Triantis just made a long run hoping for some crumbs from a long ball and our defensive midfielders didn?t pick his runs up in the first-half.?
In the second-half it initially appeared that both teams would fail to add to the scoresheet. In the 57? minute a powerful drive by Mayora certainly tested Chronopoulos who pulled off another great save this season.
However, in the space of only a few minutes the game completely changed in favour of the visitors.
In the 65? minute Gumprecht appeared to bring Canak down in the box and without doubt in referee James Lewis? mind, it was a penalty.
Nahuel Arrarte stepped up to the mark and with nonchalant ease sent former Leicester City professional goalkeeper Paul Henderson the wrong way.
In the 69? minute a delightful pass from Canak split open the Olympic defence and found Nathan Jagelman charging towards goal. The replacement for Mitchell Mallia then beautifully chipped the out-coming goalkeeper and equalised the balance for the visitors.
Momentum was starting to swing to Marconi and, as is so often the case in football, a 2-0 lead was proving to be toxic.
In the 70? minute goalkeeper Henderson then found himself sent off for what, to the referee, appeared to be a foul on Canak.
He immediately brandished his red card to Henderson who had never previously been sent off in his entire professional career. The penalty was duly converted by Arrarte in almost identical fashion to the earlier shot and for new goalkeeper Zaim Zaneli (Chris Triantis was the player sacrificed in the replacement) his first task was to pick the ball out of the net.
The last real opportunity of the game arrived in the 89? minute with Jagelman charging towards goal, though his finish was marginally over the intended target.
Afterwards Andre Gumprecht stated that his side, while appearing to be better, still had a way to go. The modest former Central Coast Mariners player stated:
?Our team [Olympic] is a work-in-progress and I reckon we can improve on tonight.?
As for his own future, Gumprecht is still a player and sees himself at this stage as primarily fulfilling that role.
?I signed as a player and that?s what I am here for. At the moment I am helping the club and organising training, the games during the week and the game on the weekend as well.
?I have no real expectations at all and it would be very easy for me to drop back into a player role because this is what I signed for.?
His counterpart Lee Sterrey was still grinning at the thought of his side?s impressive come-from-behind win.
?Overall, we came back into the game; we went to a 4-2-4 formation in the second-half and it seemed to have worked.
?We have been down in numbers recently ? Graz Trimboli has been sick and Nahuel Arrarte has been sick all week too.
?The character in our room is fantastic. Sure there were two penalties, but we made the penalties through pressure and I am very proud of our second-half performance.
?There is a lot of belief in our dressing room and a lot of character. These are good ingredients that good teams have and, while we need to get better at holding possession because good teams will hurts us, you can?t speak more highly of a team that comes to Belmore and its 2-0 down and wins 3-2,? he said.
Meanwhile, in the Grade 20 division, Sydney Olympic defeated Marconi Stallions 3-2.
Match Stats
Sydney Olympic 2 (Matthew Mayora 37?, 45?)
Marconi Stallions 3 (Nahuel Arrarte 65? (pen), 72? (pen), Nathan Jagelman 69?)  
Saturday 8th, May, 2010.
Belmore Sports Ground, Belmore
Referee: James Lewis
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields and Christian Mehl
Fourth Official: Chris Wells
Sydney Olympic: 13.Paul Henderson; 5.Tayfun Devrimol, 6.Andre Gumprecht (9.James Monie 76?), 8.Chris Triantis (1.Zaim Zaneli 72?), 12.Cedric Ramirez, 15.Matthew Mayora (22.Dimitrios Petratos 67?), 17.Ian Ramsay, 21.Ricky Perinich, 23.Luke Gearin, 29.Angelo Petratos, 33.Nick Tsattalios.
Substitutes Not Used: 18.Jerry Kalouris, 10.Anthony Doumanis
Yellow Cards: Gearin 49?
Red Cards: Henderson 71?
Marconi Stallions: 22.James Chronopoulos; 2.Brenton Rhodes, 5.Adel El Jamal, 7.Tim McGowan (10.Graziano Trimboli 80?), 8.Alex Canak, 9.Erick Anabalon (Jared Lum 85?), 11.Matthew Gordon, 23.Christopher Nunes, 26.Nahuel Arrarte, 31.Mitchell Mallia (34.Nathan Jagelman 58?), 42.Giorgio Speranza.
Substitutes Not Used: 21. Jose Bello-Amigo, 25. Dominic Trimboli
Yellow Cards: Canak 52?
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings:
3 – Nahuel Arrarte (MS)
2 – Chris Triantis (SO)
1 – Cedric Ramirez (SO)
-By Joe Russo