Woodwork denies two Sydney Olympic goals as Rockdale Ilinden claim 1-0 victory

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Sydney Olympic FC suffered a disappointing 1-0 away loss to Rockdale Ilinden FC on Sunday afternoon. Yet, unlike the week prior, the boys in blue showed the strong passion that Olympic fans have been urging for, showing positive signs for weeks to come.

With Olympic captain Hagi Gligor suffering an injury, centre-back Tom Whiteside stepped up to the plate to try bring home their first away win of the season.

Within the first ten minutes, Olympic missed a crucial opportunity to go 1-0 up after a free kick by midfielder Brendan Cholakian hit the inside of the post, bouncing across the goal line before it was sent away from the net.

Sydney Olympic FC first team. Photo: Peter Oglos/The Greek Herald

Olympic had strong possession in the first fifteen, with Rockdale’s only opportunity being parried away by goalkeeper Luke Kairies.

Only thirteen minutes into the match, Rockdale player Daniel Araujo fell onto his arm, which resulted in a terrible dislocation and break. Players waited as two ambulances arrived on the scene, with paramedics spending 45 minutes providing treatment before loading him into the vehicle. Sydney Olympic FC and Rockdale Ilinden FC sent well wishes to Araujo.

Following the injury break, both teams continued on their aggressive runs as Olympic tried to poke holes through the Rockdale defence. A second yellow card to Rockdale meant another free kick opportunity for Olympic just outside the box. Cholakian again stepped up to plate, yet sent the ball high and wide above net.

Free kick opportunities kept landing at Olympics feet in Sunday’s match, yet the team was unable to capitalise on any of them. The closest of these opportunities came midway through the first half when Peter Kekeris, who appeared to have slipped, sent the ball to Cholakian’s feet. After a cut to get a clear shot at goal, Cholakian again smashed the ball at the cross bar, failing to bring an Olympic lead.

There was a momentary shift to Rockdale as the half came to a close, with a dangerous corner from Rockdale, resulting in Daniel Dias making a goal line clearance.

Match action during the PS4NPLNSW Men’s Round 2 match between the Rockdale Illinden FC vs Sydney Olympic FC at Ilinden Sports Centre on March 7th, 2021 in Rockdale, Australia. (Photos by loopii for Football NSW)

Despite holding onto possession, not as much action in the second half from both teams as they looked to drill holes through the oppositions defence. The first opportunity came for Rockdale after a header by Kyle Cimenti hit the cross bar, resulting in now three combined post hits from both teams.

Olympic switched to crosses in an attempt to get some balls past the opposition defence. Kekeris and Dias both tried their luck yet Hasegawa or Cholakian unfortunately couldn’t get on the other end of it.

A slip in concentration came from Olympic in the 59th minute during a Rockdale throw in, where Alec Urosevski was left unmarked in the box and drilled the ball into the bottom left corner past Kairies, bringing Rockdale a 1-0 lead.

Match action during the PS4NPLNSW Men’s Round 2 match between the Rockdale Illinden FC vs Sydney Olympic FC at Ilinden Sports Centre on March 7th, 2021 in Rockdale, Australia. (Photos by loopii for Football NSW).

The arrival of Adam Parkhouse for Olympic brought a bit more crossing action into the match, yet nothing was able to threaten the Rockdale keeper.

The last minute of the match brought excitement to Olympic fans when a total of four shots were made from a corner sent in by Parkhouse, yet all were unbelievable blocked by the Rockdale defence and signalled the end to a very tight NPL NSW match.

Speaking to Football NSW, Sydney Olympic coach Ante Juric spoke about his team’s lack of recent luck.

Match action during the PS4NPLNSW Men’s Round 2 match between the Rockdale Illinden FC vs Sydney Olympic FC at Ilinden Sports Centre on March 7th, 2021 in Rockdale, Australia. (Photos by loopii for Football NSW)

“It’s disappointing to lose by one goal, but it’s early days in the season,” he said.

“If we play like we did today in the rest of the games, we’ll be okay.

“Today was a tough game, and on show were two of the best teams from last year, but we were well in the game.

“We have not been scoring in our first two games because of a bit of bad luck; it is what it is, but we have hit a few posts here and there, and maybe our luck will change if we keep working hard.”

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