Hakoah Sydney City East has pulled off a historic upset to take out the 2017 Waratah Cup with a 3-1 win against APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Lambert Park on Sunday.
The Eastern Suburbs side took the lead from the penalty spot after only six minutes before hitting the back of the net twice in the second half to secure the club’s first state cup title.
Lee Jones early goal from the spot set the tone for the match, but APIA managed to fight their way back into the contest when Josh Symons equalised on the cusp of half-time.
The second-half was finely balanced until a counter attacking sucker punch from Andre de Jong and talismanic striker Neil Jablonski put Hakoah up with only ten minutes left to play.
APIA battled gallantly to fight their way back into the match but a goal from Harry Jones wrapped up the watershed result for Hakoah.
Right from the opening whistle Hakoah took the match to APIA
The fast start caught APIA on the back foot and they soon paid the price.
A lofted through ball to Andre de Jong caught APIA’s defence off guard, but the striker was felled by Luke Turnbull in the box with referee pointing to the penalty spot.
Lee Jones stepped up to smash the ball into the top right corner to give Hakoah a 1-0 lead after only six minutes.
The goal scared APIA into action and they were unlucky not to level the scores only moments later when Jordan Murray header narrowly wide.
APIA was desperately pushing for an equaliser but Hakoah was happy to sit deep and fire back on the counter.
The Tigers were creating chances but they were regularly left exposed in defence.
Hakoah shot stopper Anthony Bouzanis was called into action in the 29th minute when a rasping shot from Tasuku Sekiya was parried away with a diving save from the custodian.
APIA’s attack finally found pay dirt five minutes from the half time interval.
A slick one-two move at the edge of the penalty area put Symons into space and he didn’t miss his chance by burying the ball into the back of the net to equalise.
Locked at 1-1 after 45 minutes the match balance on a knives edge.
APIA controlled possession early in the second stanza and had the best of the opening chances.
In the 48th minute Murray missed a gilt-edged chance when Bouzanis made a courageous dive to smother the strikers shot from only three yards out.
It was end to end action as the half progressed but neither side could find a breakthrough.
In the 74th minute APIA survived a defensive scare when Corey Bizco was forced to clear off his own line.
However, the Tigers paid the price only moments later when they were caught out by a Hakoah sucker punch.
Collecting the ball in his own half, De Jong made a marauding run through midfield beating players with ease before releasing Jablonski at the edge of the box to blast into the back of the net and give Hakoah a 2-1 lead.
APIA were desperate and threw everything forward in the dying moments of the match to snatch an unlikely equaliser.
Sekiya missed a golden opportunity when a looping cross from the wing skimmed past his diving header.
Hakoah put the result beyond doubt in added time when Jones chipped Turnbull to make it 3-1 and secure a historic victory for the club.
The smile couldn’t be wiped from the face of Hakoah’s player coach Gavin Rae.
“It’s an absolutely incredible result today for the players, the team and the club,” Rae said.
“We came into the match as underdogs but the boys showed their ability and hard work to get us an amazing win.
“This is one the club is not going to forget anytime soon.”
Rae said his side delivered one of the best performances of its season in the win.
“Everyone of our players found another level today,” he said.
“We knew what sort of game it would be going in and we held strong against APIA’s attack.
“We still have a lot of football to play this season but this will be a massive confidence booster going forward.”
A sombre APIA coach Danial Cummins rued what should’ve have been a vastly different outcome for his side.
“It was the same story for us again tonight. We created enough opportunities but there were key moments in the game when we let it slip,” he said.
“In matches like this you need to take your chances and Hakoah did and we didn’t.
“There is still plenty to play for us this season so we will use this result as fire for the remainder of our matches.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1 (S Symons 41’)
Hakoah Sydney City East: 3 (L Jones 6’ Jablonski 79’, H Jones 93’)
Sunday, July 9 2017
Lambert Park Leichhardt
Referee: Adrian Arndt
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields & Kearney Robinson
Fourth Official: Craig Fisher.
APIA LIECHHARDT TIGERS: 22. Luke Turnbull, 2. Nathan Millgate, 3. Paul Galimi, 4. Joshua Symons, 8. Corey Bizco, 11. Jordan Murray (10. Franco Parisi,), 13. David D’Apuzzo (7. Sean O’Connell), 16. Sean Symons, 17. Adrian Vlastelica (19. Brandon Lundy), 18. Adrian Ucchino, 20. Tasuku Sekiya
Substitutes: 1. Ivan Necevski,, 15. Themba Muata-Marlow,.
Yellow Cards: Turnbull, J Symons
HAKOAH SYDNEY CITY EAST: 1. Anthony Bouzanis, 4. Bradley Walker, 6. Cameron Draper, 10. Andre de Jong, 14. Anthony Frangie (27. Nathan Roberts.), 15. Dean Bereveskos, 16. Oliver Green, 18. Harry Jones, 19. Gavin Rae, 36. Lee Jones (9. Neil Jablonski), 40. Michael Kouta
Subtitutes: 5. Dylan Blumberg, 45. Michael Figueira, 7. Aleks Lekoski,
Yellow Cards: Draper
Waratah Cup Final 2017 – Player Ratings
APIA Leichhardt Tigers
Luke Turnbull – 6
The APIA custodian was booked early on for felling Andre De Jong in the box but remained mostly untroubled for the rest of the contest. Made one excellent reaction save late on to tip an Andrew De Jong free kick onto the post.
Nathan Millgate – 6
Offered a good stream of support to Corey Biczo on the right flank and delivered several dangerous crosses from the by-line.
Paul Galimi – 6
Booked early on for a handball and beaten in the lead up to Hakoah’s penalty but was otherwise solid and won several challenges on the edge of the APIA penalty box. Cleared a Bradley Walker header off the line late in the second half.
Adrian Vlastelica – 6
The APIA centre half was solid following the concession of Hakoah’s opening goal and his eagerness to carry the ball out of defence generated several promising attacking forays for the hosts. Replaced by Brandon Lundy early in the second half.
Joshua Symons – 6
Provided several excellent crosses in the first half and performed his defensive duties well. Booked late on for a cynical challenge on De Jong.
David D’Apuzzo – 6
The APIA skipper offered a smart and experienced performance anchoring the APIA midfield. Replaced by Sean O’Connell late in the second half.
Adrian Ucchino – 6
Worked hard alongside D’Apuzzo in the engine room but was unable to replicate a supremely dominant performance over Hakoah in round fourteen of league action.
Tasuku Sekiya – 6
Although the Japanese playmaker was sometimes erratic in possession, Sekiya offered some lovely touches as usual and played a starring role in the lead up to Sean Symons’ first-half equalizer.
Sean Symons – 7
A confident finish pulled APIA level at the end of the opening half. One of APIA’s brighter performers and supplied several wicked deliveries from the left.
Corey Biczo – 7
A standout performer in the opening half and caused the Hakoah rear-guard a multitude of issues with his trickery and willingness to take on defenders.
Jordan Murray – 5
A frustrating evening for the APIA marksman. Looped a header over the bar early on and saw a golden chance denied by Bouzanis early in the second half in what was a critical moment in the encounter. Replaced by Franco Parisi late in the second half.
Replaced Vlastelica early in the second half and whipped an excellent ball into the box late that was narrowly missed by the onrushing Sekiya.
The APIA talisman was brought on late in the second half but was unable to impact the course of the match.
Hakoah Sydney City East
Anthony Bouzanis – 8.5
Made a few regulation saves from Sekiya and Murray in the opening half and provided a sensational reflex save to deny Murray from point blank range early in the second half. Commanded his area with great authority throughout the match and made several confident claims late on – worthy man of the match winner.
Cameron Draper – 6
The Hakoah fullback delivered a workman-like performance and rarely put a foot wrong from fullback.
Bradley Walker – 7
The skipper was ousted by Symons for APIA’s equalizer but otherwise marshalled the defence well and saw a towering header cleared off the line late in the match.
Gavin Rae – 7
The former Scottish international nullified the threat of Murray throughout the match and remained steadfast under a barrage of late APIA pressure.
Michael Kouta – 6
The left back struggled against the trickery of Corey Biczo in the opening half but showed great maturity and poise to recover in the second.
Oliver Green – 7
Hardworking and intelligent in possession, Green helped lay the foundations for Hakoah’s upset win with a quietly impressive performance.
Dean Bereveskos – 7
Another diligent and composed performer in midfield. Saw an early shot curl inches wide of the post and a late effort blocked, one of the victorious team’s stand out players.
Harry Jones – 7
The midfielder enjoyed a fine performance in the middle of the park and clinched the cup late on with a delicate clipped finish over Turnbull.
Anthony Frangie – 6
The dangerous attacker was kept on a short leash by the APIA defence and showed glimpses of quality before succumbing to injury midway through the second half.
Lee Jones – 6
Hammered the underdogs into the lead with an emphatically dispatched penalty kick and was replaced by Neil Jablonski at the start of the second half.
Andre De Jong – 8
The Kiwi attacker won the penalty in the opening half with an intelligent burst beyond the APIA defence and spearheaded the Hakoah attack diligently despite long periods of the match with little service. Saw a late free kick spectacularly saved by Turnbull and supplied the match winner for Neil Jablonski late on.
Neil Jablonski – 8
Arrived into the fray early in the second half and expertly slotted home the winner before laying Hakoah’s third on a platter for Harry Jones.
Nathan Roberts – 6
Replaced Anthony Frangie midway through the second half and was not overawed by the occasion.
-By Jacob Windon