South Melbourne FC produce remarkable comeback in FFA Cup Derby

South Melbourne FC defeated rivals Melbourne Knights 3-1, in
an action packed thriller at Lakeside Stadium last night.

By ARI CHARILAOU  (Photography property of South Melbourne FC) 

It was a match that sent
fans through a roller-coaster of emotions, rekindling old memories of their historic
clashes in the old NSL days.

Fans rolled through the gates filling up the main stand,
generating waves of back and forth chants between South and Knights fans.

No team wants to lose against their rivals, especially in an
FFA Cup game. Perhaps this was why Melbourne Knights proved to be such a strong
outfit once again, after defeating South last season in an FFA Cup upset.

 

Despite all the hype and anticipation throughout the week,
both teams came out hesitant and rather shaky in the first 10 minutes.

Melbourne Knights began to find their feet and were unlucky
not to score at the half hour mark, due to some heroic defending by young gun
Tomas Lakic. It was a wakeup call for South Melbourne, responding immediately with
a chance through Andy Brennan, only to be denied by a double save from May.

The derby began to come to life after a heated incident
between Andrijiasevic and Mala resulted in yellow cards.

The tone for match was set.

Both teams went into the break deadlocked at 0-0. Melbourne
Knights began the second half like a carbon copy of the first, bombarding South’s
goal.

The Knights were finally rewarded for their efforts, Captain
Tomislav Uskok breaking the deadlock with a header, capitalizing on some
poor marking.

The game looked lost for South as the game drew closer to its
end.

Then the unbelievable happened.

A handball inside the
box was awarded a South Melbourne penalty, and was successfully converted by
Milos Lujic.

Lakeside Stadium erupted, the goal sending fans into an
absolute frenzy. 

FAN VIDEO: 

Before the fans could even sit back in their seats, South
scored again a minute later leaving Knight’s shell shocked.

In form winger Nick
Epifano cut through the Knights defence sending a picture perfect strike from
the outside of the box into the top right hand corner.

The floodgates had well and truly opened as Epifano found himself on
the end of another goal after a brilliant South Melbourne counter attack.

The Knight’s frustrations seemed evident as ugly scenes
boiled over into an on field scuffle, resulting in red cards for both Uskok and
Roganovic.  

In a matter of minutes the game was won for South Melbourne,
leaving fans in a state of disbelief over what they had just witnessed.

It was a perfect send off for Andy Brennan, who played his
final game for the club before making the move to Newcastle.

South Melbourne coach Chris Taylor will be ecstatic with his
teams fight back and progression in the cup.

THE TURF spoke exclusively with the match winning hero Nick Epifano for South Melbourne FC.

“CT was really adamant
on keeping the ball on the deck because we knew our ability would outshine
there physical presence and we knew they would get more fatigued as the game progressed”.

Epifano’s current run of stellar form has been a product of
his hard work on the training pitch.

“Focusing on my
finishing is one thing that I have been lacking recently so I’ve been trying to
improve that as much as I can”.

 

South Melbourne are now only one win away from qualifying
for the FFA Cup Finals.

 

FULL TIME 3-1

Goalscorers: South Melbourne 3 (Lujic 82’, Epifano 83’, 90’) Melbourne Knights 1 (Uskok 53’)

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By ARI CHARILAOU

THE TURF