Reds claim shootout thriller - September 11 2012

Reds claim shootout thriller

Damen Francis

September 11 2012

Shepparton News

A collective sense of relief emanated from the Shepparton bench in the wake of Sunday’s Goulburn North East Football Association’s division two men’s preliminary final escape against nine-man Cobram Victory.

The Reds needed penalties to overcome a brave Victory, despite boasting a two-player advantage for about 100 minutes of open play.

A flurry of goals in the final 10 minutes saw the scoreline go from 2-0 the Reds’ way, to 3-3, before both sides added another goal each in extra-time.

It took 16 penalties to find a winner, with Mohamad Alsharifi holding his nerve from the spot to seal the shootout 6-5.

Reds coach Tom Radevski admitted the second red card was the turning point of the match, but not in the way he was expecting.

‘‘The guys just sort of stopped,’’ Radevski said.

‘‘Victory had no choice, they could have gone one of two ways; try harder or give up.

‘‘To Victory’s credit they tried harder and a bit of panic set in, but we did enough in the end.’’

The Reds made a poor start to the game, but a deliberate handball by Chris Startari swung the match in their favour. Startari was sent off and Joe Hogarty buried the resulting penalty.

Zach Franco was handed a yellow card in the aftermath and that proved significant as a scuffle with Alsharifi later in the half led to a yellow for both players and Franco’s dismissal.

Dyar Dyar made it 2-0 before half-time and it looked like game over.

However, Manny Artavilla pulled one back from the penalty spot, before kicking off the late drama with a neat finish from playing coach Michael Startari’s lay-off.

Celebrations were short lived as Ahadi Lulerhe put the Reds back in front from the restart.

Michael Startari’s well-struck volley received a helpful deflection to force extra-time, in which Artavilla sealed his hat-trick to put the Victory ahead, only for Ramah Taya to send it to penalties.

‘‘I can’t fault the boys, to hit the lead in extra-time after 100 minutes with nine players was amazing,’’ Startari said.

‘‘We were happy with the season, you need a lot of luck to win a premiership and we didn’t really get any, with Ray (Diramacca) and Vinnie (Santoro’s) injuries.’’

Shepparton meets Kialla United in Sunday’s grand final.


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