Moreland Zebras v Bulleen Lions Match Report
By Ahmed Yussuf @ahmedyussuf10
Moreland Zebras recorded a hard fought 2-1 win against second place FC Bulleen Lions in wet conditions at BT Connor Reserve Sunday afternoon.
Moreland midfielder Nick Symeoy took to the air to head in the opener for the home side, but its lead was chalked off five minutes from the break.
Bulleen attacker Joseph Katebian hit back with a header of his own, putting a game at a knives edge before Moreland’s 17-year-old Danny Charalambous rounded the Bulleen goalkeeper Fraser Maclaren to score his first senior goal and clinch the win.
Both sides were unable to find a rhythm early on with heavy doses of rain and the already wet conditions getting the better of the two NPL1 clubs.
However, a breakthrough was found eight minutes in when Charalambous’ set piece from the right side found star man Nick Symeoy, who headed in the opener.
Not long after Moreland’s Bonillo Danillo found space on the wing to cross into the box.
The ball trickled past the goalmouth, requiring someone just touch it to force a shot on target.
Bulleen then began to show scenes of petulance midway through the first interval.
Matt Dimech and Lewis Waddell were one of the few who were given yellow cards for their recklessness.
In the dying stages of the first half, Bulleen started to show signs of life.
A cross from the left was directed across to Lions’ attacker Katebian whose header skewed inches wide of goal.
Bulleen managed to find its equaliser five minutes from time in the first half.
A cross into the box from Bulleen’s captain Mateo Ballan met the head of forward Katebian who headed on goal.
The second half began with Moreland on the front foot troubling Bulleen custodian Maclaren.
First half goal scorer Symeoy had his shot pushed over the crossbar, and moments later headed the ball right into the hands of Maclaren.
Moreland kept pushing for that all-important winner, and when Bulleen defender slipped Charalambous pounces on the ball.
The youngster ran in on goal with only Bulleen’s shot-stopper Maclaren to beat, but Lions’ goalkeeper came out big to save with his feet.
Charalambous made it right in less than no time.
Moreland’s number nine, Joel Nikolic, found Charalambous who rounded Maclaren to finish his first senior goal expertly.
Bulleen grew desperate trying to find an equaliser, and threw wave after wave of attack at Moreland.
There was late drama too.
In the 90th minute the referee awarded a late penalty in favour of Bulleen after abstraction in the penalty area.
The penalty was narrowly missed as captain Ballan’s effort hit the crossbar and deflected back into play.
Moreland Zebras coach Danny Gnjidic was impressed how his side handled the wet conditions.
“Tough conditions and our [Moreland] boys handled them quite well,” Gnjidic said.
“I was an important win and gives us a little bit of momentum now and hopefully we can continue.”
Moreland Zebras boss was also excited with how Danny Charalambous rose to the occasion.
“[Charalambous] has been an outstanding young player for us,” he said.
“He’s come through our 20’s, so as a club we’re really proud that he’s been able to come in and make the impact he has.”
FC Bulleen Lions coach Fabrizio Soncin said he couldn’t take anything from that performance, hinting that it was more like an AFL game oppose to football.
“That was an AFL game disguised as football. The conditions weren’t there but it was AFL without the use of hands,” Soncin said.
“That’s the only way I can describe that game. I’m glad it’s over.
“[We can take] nothing from this game, because that wasn’t a game of football.”
Moreland Zebras 2 (Nick Symeoy 8’, Danny CHARALANBOUS 60’) defeated FC Bulleen Lions 1 (Joseph KATEBIAN 40’) at BT Connor Reserve [HT: 1-1]
Moreland Zebras: Nikola KOSTADINOVSKI (GK), Simon SYMEOY, Adam CENTOFANTI, Mile MEDJEDOVIC, Johnny CRIVELLI, Scott ROBSON, Brad MURRAY, Danny CHARALAMBOUS, Nick SYMEOY (Josh MCMONAGLE-IMASZ 86), Joel NIKOLIC (James PAPADIMITRIOU, 82’), Danillo BONILLA-OSPINA (Daniel SWEENEY 65’)
Unused Sub(s): Francesco GRECO, Mario PIRIANO
Yellow Card(s): Scott ROBSON 18’, Joel NIKOLIC 67’, Brad MURRAY 69’, Adam CENTOFANTI 90’
Red Card(s): Nil
Bulleen Lions: Fraser MACLAREN (GK), Dean ROMAS, Sam BORGHESI, Lewis WADDELL, Matteo BALLAN, Giannis DE NITTIS (Joshua SABIDUSSI, 65’), Takanori NISHIMOTO (Edison PONARI, 86’), Matt DIMECH, Joseph KATEBIAN, Alex Dao, Kristian SARKIES
Unused Sub(s): Gian TAPIA, Bardhi HYSOLI
Yellow card(s): Matt DIMECH 25’, Lewis WADDELL 28’, Joseph KATEBIAN 45+1’
Red Card(s): Nil