APIA Leichhardt Tigers have continued their stellar season with a convincing 4-1 away win over Hakoah Sydney City East during their PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash at Hensley Athletic field.
An Adrian Ucchino double as well as goals to Corey Bizco and Brandon Lundy helped the league leaders to yet another win despite going behind early in the match.
Hakoah will be disappointed to have not made the most of Andre De Jong’s 12th minute strike which gave the home side a shock 1-0 lead.
However, APIA were too strong and raced away for a dominant victory and three competition points.
It was all action from the first whistle.
In the 7th minute Jordan Murray tested Hakoah goalkeeper Anthony Bouzanis who saved down low to his left. It was to be APIA’s first of many chances in the first half of play
A minute later Tasuku Sekiya made a stupendous run from halfway and incredibly seemed to go through unchecked, but in the end his shot was just wide of the mark thanks to a small deflection.
In the 12th minute a goal by Andre De Jong opened the scoring for Hakoah Sydney City East. A long ball forward reached him in the box where he squeezed in between a few of the Tigers’ defenders before turning the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
In the 20th minute there was double chance by APIA and they really should have scored. A powerful shot from the right by Corey Biczo was well saved by Bouzanis and then, as play continued, it was Biczo who again on the right found himself with the ball.
His cross was met by Brandon Lundy on the left who went for the spectacular scissors kick that went across the entire face of goal.
In the 33rd minute Lundy made up for his earlier miss. He received a small, sharp cross from the right from Biczo and from close range he equalised by stabbing the ball home for the visitors.
In the 40th minute APIA again hit the back of the net. A free kick from Adrian Ucchino went straight in from just outside the box at an acute angle.
As players jostled inside the box for position expecting to receive the ball, Ucchino with a sharp focus beat a badly placed wall and steered the ball straight into the back of the net.
The first half ended shortly afterwards with the Tigers, who had clearly the dominant half, trudging off with a narrow but well-deserved lead.
In the second stanza of play the first opportunity arrived in the 56th minute when a Biczo cross from the right found Lundy lurking with intent in the box, but his header was just over the crossbar.
In the 72nd minute a rocket by Sean O’Connell from outside the box was beautifully turned over the crossbar by goalkeeper Bouzanis as APIA went forward again.
In the 82nd minute their third goal did arrive. Matthew West fed the ball forward to Biczo who, in a sliding effort, beat the out-coming Bouzanis and tucked the ball home.
Brad Walker was then sent off after receiving a yellow card for a foul on Sekiya in the 85th minute. Unfortunately for the Hakoah captain it was his second yellow of the night and his side was forced to finish the match with ten players.
APIA Leichhardt scored their fourth goal in the 86th minute. Another majestic free kick by Ucchino was so powerful from distance that it went like a fireball straight into the back of the net.
APIA Leichhardt’s coach Danial Cummins was pleased but reserved in his post match breakdown of his side’s victory.
“It was important that we backed up after Tuesday [Westfield FFA Cup game that went into extra-time] as there was a lot of emotion after that match,” he said.
“The boys were drained, so we gave them Wednesday off in order to make sure that we were ready for today’s game.
“We knew it was going to be tough because Hakoah is a good side. We knew that they were going to be physical and on this tight pitch it was always going to be tough. They showed that and got the first goal but I thought that we played well from there.”
Meanwhile over in the Hakoah Sydney City East dressing room, player-coach Gavin Rae was disappointed to have lost after a wonderful midweek FFA Cup win over Rockdale City Suns.
“It’s disappointing even though we played well in parts but we didn’t play particularly well over the 90,” he said.
“They picked us off at the end but I thought that for large parts we were still in it. The first 20 minutes were fine for us but overall we didn’t really deal well with their pressing.
“They pressed us well and worked hard as a team. They are a good team and they lead the table for good reasons, but it’s still disappointing to lose.”
Hakoah Sydney City East:1 (De Jong 12’)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 4 (Lundy 33’, Ucchino 40’ & 86’, Biczo 56’)
Saturday 3rd June 2017
Hensley Athletic Field, Pagewood
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Kearney Robinson, Jack Bell
Fourth Official: Anthony Mansour
HAKOAH SYDNEY CITY EAST: 1. Anthony Bouzanis, 4. Brad Walker, 6. Cameron Draper, 8. Paul Orgad, 10. Andre De Jong, 11. Jordan Mundell, 12. Jack Green (30. Connor Eldridge 78’), 14. Anthony Frangie, 15. Dean Bereveskos (36. Lee Jones 69’), 17. Gideon Sweet, 19. Gavin Rae
Substitutes not used: 5. Dylan Blumberg, 18. Harry Jones, 33. Connor Shaddock
Yellow Cards: Orgad 36’, Walker 66’, Frangie 75’
Red Card: Walker 85’
APIA LEICHHARDT TIGERS: 22. Luke Turnbull, 2. Nathan Millgate, 3. Paul Galimi, 7. Sean O’Connell, 8. Corey Biczo (5. Brad Bartels 87’), 11. Jordan Murray (9. Matthew West 77’), 15. Themba Muata-Marlow, 17. Adrian Vlastelica, 18. Adrian Ucchino, 19. Brandon Lundy, 20. Tasuku Sekiya (10. Franco Parisi 85’).
Substitutes not used: 1. Ivan Necevski, 12. Dominic Cox
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil