Reigning PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria premier South Melbourne made an emphatic statement to open the season by dispatching their rival Heidelberg United with a 6-0 win at Lakeside Stadium.
A first-half hat-trick from Nick Epifano and Milos Lujic’s goal did the damage before the break, with half-time sub Matthew Theodore adding a fifth ten minutes into the second half, leaving Iqi Jawadi to end the rout with a tap-in goal moments before full-time.
South Melbourne FC 6 (Epifano 12' 38' pen 44' Lujic 36' Theodore 54' Jawadi 89') Heidelberg United FC 0
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Heidelberg were made to pay for not capitalising on early momentum, flooding forward to have South kept in their half early. The home side looked increasingly threatening on the break as the game progressed, with newcomers Marcus Schroen and Matt Millar helping turn the game with their parts in the first half goal glut that put the result beyond doubt.
South were able to see out the second half with little drama, though tempers would flare just before second half stoppage time, ending what truly was a stunning game of football.
Oakleigh Cannons FC 0 Port Melbourne "Sharks" Soccer Club 0 | U20: 2-0
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The first round of the PS4 NPL Victoria began with a tense 0-0 draw between Oakleigh Cannons and Port Melbourne at Jack Edwards Reserve. Both sides had opportunities in front of goal, with Lambros Honos and Dusan Bosnjak (after coming off the bench) threatening for their sides but neither were able to make the decisive breakthrough as the match petered out to a draw.
Friday night’s triple header saw reigning champions Bentleigh Greens prevail over newly-promoted FC Bulleen Lions at Kingston Heath, taking all three points through an early goal from Tyson Holmes for a 1-0 win. The visitors best chance came at the 38th minute from new recruit Takanori Nishimoto, chances for the home side came through Wayne Wallace, Ryan Paczkowski but were frittered away, fortunately for the Greens, it didn’t come back to haunt as they saw the game through.
Melbourne Knights FC 1 (Colosimo 63') Green Gully S.C 1 (Breeze 8') | U20: 4-4
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Melbourne Knights and Green Gully SC played out a physical contest at Knights Stadium, with the sides having to settle for a point apiece after a 1-1 draw. A 8th minute strike from Gully winger Mathew Breeze from distance tumbled into bottom left corner to give the away side the early advantage, unfortunately Breeze would be stretchered off for what appeared to be a serious knee injury later on.
Green Gully almost doubled their lead immediately after halftime, with a Rodrigo Vargas header hitting the back of the net, but was disallowed for a foul in the lead-up. It would prove to be a defining moment of the physical contest, as the Knights would restore parity just after the hour mark through Jacob Colosimo.
Pascoe Vale FC 2 (Youssef 58' Ferrante pen 86') Avondale FC 0 | U20: 2-3
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Pascoe Vale FC got their season off on the right note, with second half goals from Joseph Youssef and Michael Ferrante earning Paco a 2-0 win over Avondale FC at CB Smith Reserve.
A scramble in the box allowed Youssef to strike the ball home from close range to give Pascoe Vale the advantage in a close contest full of drama. Avondale FC were awarded a penalty at the 70th following a Nathan Megic foul on Abrahim Yango, only for Yango’s shot to hit the post and Pascoe Vale custodian Erik Pryce to save the rebound shot. The home side nabbed a penalty of their own, only for the kick to be delayed due to sprinklers. After a seven-minute delay, Ferrante cooly converted to ensure Paco took all three points.
Melbourne Victory Youth’s started their new life in the Victorian top flight in perfect fashion, defeating Northcote City FC at Epping Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Joey Katebian’s second half goal, a header from a Kieran Dover cross at the 76th minute, earned the home side the 3 points.
Neither side could find an early breakthrough, not for lack of trying as Victory goalkeeper Lucas Spinella was forced into saves early, with Katebian and Anthony Duzel also prominent early. The close contest was left to be decided by Katebian’s strike midway through the second half.
Hume City F.C. 3 (Timmins 51' Markelis 59' Espindola 71') Richmond SC 1953 0 | U20: 2-3
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Hume City FC earned themselves a dream start to the season at ABD Stadium on Saturday night, with second half goals from the returning Shaun Timmins, Theo Markelis and Hume debutant Hernan Espindola sealing a 3-0 result for the home side over Richmond SC.
Richmond were able to keep the hosts at bay early, but weren’t able to sustain a challenge as Hume stamped their authority over the contest as Espindola wreaked havoc. The home side recovered from losing Daniel Visevic midway through the first half, with substitute Markelis having an impact with a goal in the second half.
Results and ladders: www.nplvic.com.au
Click here for the results from PS4 NPL 2 Victoria East and West.