NPL1 West Round 1 Match Report
Last gasp winner sees Bulleen triumph over rivals
A late Gianni De Nittis goal has seen FC Bulleen Lions triumph over Moreland Zebras in a tight and fiery affair at David Barro Stadium.
It took eighty-nine minutes for the home side to strike, with coach Dominic Barba taking off down the sideline to join in the celebrations with the rest of his players.
Bulleen didn’t have it all its way though, with Moreland pressuring in the early stages.
Bulleen's Bardhi Hysolli was on the end of a nasty challenge in just the third minute, and in the moments following had a shout of handball waved away.
Hysolli broke into the box, with his final ball appearing to glance off of a defender's arm, but the referee was unmoved and waved play on.
Moreland continued undeterred, and was unlucky to not be awarded a penalty of its own after Bulleen goalkeeper Matt Banovic lashed out at a Moreland attacker and was duly awarded a yellow card.
Banovic could have been sent off before half time, as the goalkeeper ran out to quell a Moreland attack and fouling the oncoming Zebras striker in the process.
Feeling hard done by with the first half's proceedings, Moreland's players were welcomed by the encouraging cheers of their travelling fans at David Barro Stadium.
Yet it was Bulleen's Reza Saheed who had the first chance just two minutes into the second half, hitting the post with his shot after picking it up from a Moreland error.
Minutes after, a red card was shown by the referee to Moreland’s Simon Symeoy, as he was ajudged to have tackled Bulleen's Takanori Nishimoto in a violent manner, and was sent for an early shower.
As the game reached breaking point, Moreland’s continued vigour was not to go unnoticed as the ten men rallied to defend quickly in numbers, as well as attack Bulleen and continue to look for a goal.
Dean Lorenzi had a chance to double the lead but put his effort over the bar, when he was first to the ball after Moreland's Nikola Konstadinovski mishandled a clearance from Matteo Ballan and spilled it at his feet.
Bulleen's final roll of the dice would prove to be an inspired substitution, as Gianni De Nittis took the field late on, replacing Anton Nardella.
De Nittis needed only twenty minutes to make his mark on the match.
A free-kick was whipped in and subsequently cleared by Moreland, only for De Nittis to swoop and finish with a calm head.
Some late heroics from Moreland's James Kelly proved to be futile, as a final free-kick on the edge of the box could only find the welcoming gloves of Matt Banovic to see out the game.
FC Bulleen Lions 1 (De Nittis 89’) defeated Moreland Zebras 0 at Veneto Club
FC Bulleen Lions: 1. Matt BANOVIC, 2. Will ABBOTT, 4. Samual BORGHESI, 6. Bardhi HYSOLLI, 8. Matteo BALLAN, 9. Reza SAHEED (Dylan BRESOLIN 66’), 10. Takanori NISHIMOTO, 12. Eli LUTTMER, 13. Dean LORENZI, 17. Anton NARDELLA (11. Gianni DE NITTIS 71’), 18. Felix ROSMAN
Unused Subs: 2. Dean ROMAS, 22. Stefan RANKOVIC
Yellow Cards: Banovic, Lorenzi, Nardella
Red Cards: None
Moreland Zebras: 1. Nikola KONSTADINOVSKI, 2. Simon SYMEOY, 3. Johnny CRIVELLI (11. Bale MICOVSKI 90’) 5. Daniel PETROV, 7. Kliment DIMITREVSKI (14. James PAPADIMITRIOU 35’), 8. Joshua McMONAGUE-IHASZ, 9. Joel NIKOLIC, 10. Danny CHARALAMBOUS (20. Baggio YOUSIF 66’), 12. Bradley MURRAY, 16. Mile MEDJEDOVIC, 19. James KELLY
Unused Subs: 21. Aleksandar STOJANOVSKI, 6. Adam CENTOFANTI
Yellow Cards: Nikolic, Murray
Red Cards: Symeoy