Belconnen United 1 (Luca Macor 66’) def. Tuggeranong United 0
By Tim Warren
Belconnen United strengthened their chances to play finals football in 2019 with a gutsy 1-0 win over Tuggeranong United at McKellar Park on Saturday afternoon.
The victory propelled the Blue Devils into the top four, with Belconnen picking up their sixth win of the season to reach 20 competition points.
The only goal of the game which eventually proved to be the match winner came in the 66th minute when Michael Taurasi had a magnificent run down the right wing before cutting back the ball to Luca Macor in the centre of the box to hammer it into the net.
Earlier, in what was a scrappy and physical first half neither side were able to break the deadlock, although there were a few notable fouls
Jake Garner was brought down by Sam Isabella with a late challenge in the 18th minute for the first yellow card of the game, while the hosts’ Michael Taurasi was booked when he lunged for the ball against Jakob Wiseman and collected the keeper with his boot.
Garner had a great opportunity to open the scoring in the 33rd minute when his head found the end of Dustin Wells’ cross, but Wiseman was able to collect the ball easily and get his side out on the attack.
Garner minutes later floated forward at the back-post once again, but the ball was just too long for the young defender to nod towards goal.
Sam Whithear had his close-range shot blocked in the 37th minute, with Belconnen constantly pushing for the go-ahead goal in the later stages of the first half.
Taurasi had a fantastic opportunity to take the lead for the hosts in the 62nd minute when he received the ball after a quickly taken free kick, however his shot bulleted straight into Wiseman’s arms.
Substitute Daniel Fulton had a big chance to open the scoring when Andrew Slavich’s low cross found him, but he skied it well over from close range with the goal begging.
That chance going amiss proved to cost them dearly as Belconnen scored their sole goal through Macor straight off the goal kick.
Both sides had a myriad of minor chances during the final 25 minutes of the second half, however no opportunity was able to threaten the keeper and the score line remained 1-0 for Belconnen to claim the three points.
Tuggeranong will have one last chance to ignite their finals chances as they visit Deakin to play Canberra FC on Wednesday night.
Woden-Weston 0 def. by Canberra Olympic 4 (Kofi Danning 15’, Stephen Domenici 44’, 56’, Nick Faust 59’)
Canberra Olympic pulled within a point of ladder-leaders Tigers FC with a convincing 4-0 win at Melrose against Woden-Weston on Saturday.
Kofi Danning got things underway for the visitors just 15 minutes in as Kofi Danning pounced on a poor defensive touch and struck the ball into the corner from outside the area with Tim Davies caught off his line after playing the ball out. Nathen Megic helped manufacture Olympic’s second just before half-time as he got out on the break and fed the ball left to Stephen Domenici, who broke into the area, cut back inside and hammered home a finish inside the near post to bring the lead to 2-0 at half-time.
The visitors almost cut the deficit a couple of minutes into the second half when a ferocious set piece strike from Chris McEwan rattled the bar, but it was not to be and Olympic went on the attack to score their third nine minutes later. Michael Piccolo turned his defender before hoisting in a cross from the left that Danning headed down and the next touch fell invitingly for Domenici to lash a volley past Davies and into the corner.
Nick Faust completed the scoring with a lung-busting forward run, exchanging passes with a teammate before poking the ball into the net for Olympic’s fourth and to wrap up the game.
Frank Cachia’s side now head to Griffith to take on the Rhinos and potentially jump Tigers on the ladder while Woden-Weston play Tuggeranong with their finals hopes now ended.
Riverina Rhinos 1 (Joe Preece 5’) def. by Gungahlin United 7 (Zac Barbatano 8’, Michael John 21’, Jeremy Habtemariam 33’, 51’, Samuel Habtemariam 66’, 81’, Antoni Timotheou 70’)
The Rhinos shocked the visitors when they went ahead early from a corner, as Roy Catanzariti’s goal-bound header was flicked on by Joe Preece to beat Jordan Thurtell and give them the lead. That advantage lasted just minutes though, and Zac Barbatano pounced on a defensive error before racing into the area and firing into the far corner.
13 minutes later Michael John finished from a tight angle after his initial flick on was well saved and it was three goals to one at half-time when Jeremy Habtemariam converted from the spot after John’s shot struck the arm of Grant Davidson.
Habtemariam had his second six minutes into the second half, pouncing on the ball quickest when Zac Barbatano’s cross was chested down in the area and from there it was all Gungahlin. Jacob Donadel was shown his marching orders in the 57th minute for a poor tackle on Antoni Timotheou in the middle of the park and four minutes after that Samuel Habtemariam got in on the act with a deflected strike as the game entered its final half hour.
With 20 minutes to play Antoni Timotheou converted from close range after showing quick feet to take the ball around a defender in the area and Samuel Habtemariam completed the scoring rom the penalty spot with just under ten minutes remaining.
The Rhinos will welcome Canberra Olympic to Solar Mad Stadium for the penultimate fixture of their season on Saturday.
Tigers FC 0 def. by Canberra FC 1 (Mat Waters 28’)
Canberra FC threw a spanner in the works of Tigers’ Premiership hopes, grinding out a 1-0 victory at Nijong Oval to set up a tense final few rounds and further their own top four aspirations.
A long ball was played forward to Daniel Barac as the game approached the half hour mark and he was fouled to leave the visitors with a set-piece in a good position just outside the box.
Daniel Colbertaldo stood over the ball and sent it goalward, and while Jakob Cole did well to get a hand to it and save it on to the crossbar, Mat Waters was quickest to react and fire home the loose ball to give Luka Ujdur’s side the lead.
That lead stood at half-time, and Canberra FC came out for the second half ready to maintain the advantage through another tense 45 minutes but it would be the leaders rather than the hosts who came closer to scoring.
With 10 minutes to play Jordan Lamb squared the ball to Dom Giampaolo in a two-on-one and the forward smashed his effort against the bar when it was seemingly easier to score, and Lamb struck the bar with a vicious crack in stoppage time but neither came back to haunt Ujdur’s team as the final whistle blew for an important victory.
The win moves Canberra FC back into fourth place with a rescheduled clash against Tuggeranong awaiting on Wednesday, while Tigers’ lead at the top of the table is now just a point ahead of a huge game against Gungahlin United next Sunday.