R3 Wrap: WT Birkalla v Adelaide Blue Eagles
West Torrens Birkalla played hosts to Adelaide Blue Eagles at Jack Smith Park in their PlayStation 4 National Premier League South Australia Round 3 encounter. The 2-2 drawn match was worthy of the old football cliché “a game of two halves.”
It was Birkalla out of the blocks early creating numerous attacking raids, putting Blue Eagles defence under early pressure; Chris Skull, Lawrence D’Arrigo and Fumiya Suzuki having early control of the midfield.
Pedram Sourjani in Blue Eagles goals was being tested early by Birkalla forward Taro Kawamura who had two golden opportunities to open the scoring only to be denied by some excellent glove work by the Blue Eagles goalkeeper.
Kawamura’s cohorts Paul Radice and Ian Kamau started to get their share of the ball in the forward half stretching the Blue Eagles defence.
Birkalla eventually caught the Blue Eagles defence napping in the 9’ when Kawamura, making good forward position, got onto a free header which found the back of the net to open the scoring.
Andrej Rastovac, Samuel Tesfagabar and Hirokumi Kochi stood tall in the Blue Eagles’ defence withstanding the Birkalla forward forays.
Blue Eagles in search of an equaliser, were able to take their window of opportunity, when against the run of play in the 17’Yvan Boyokino received a beautiful through ball from Anthony Dimas, Boyokino raced past Birkalla goalkeeper Julian Torresan and caressed the ball into the back of the net.
Blue Eagles celebrations was short lived when in the 26’ referee Rick Schneider had no hesitation pointing to the penalty spot when Scot Nagel was bought down in the box. Suzuki stepped up to take the kick which was brilliantly palmed out by Sourjani, but the ever alert Suzuki was able to collect the rebound and slot the ball for a goal.
Blue Eagles had their opportunities to get on level terms but failed to convert their chances, going into the halftime break 2-1 down.
After the break Gianluca Legati was forced to make structural changes due to the substitution of his defender Christopher Atsikbasis. Substitute Anthony Trimboli was given the central forward position, while Alemayo moved into the midfield.
There was good reason to think that the two sides had swapped jumpers during the interval, as the Blue Eagles began to take control of the game. Alemayo was instrumental in wrestling away the momentum from Birkalla in the second half. He set up numerous attacks through the midfield with Dimas, Trimboli, Filletti and Boyokino relishing the forward opportunities.
It only took 5’ into the second half for Blue Eagles to get back on level term. A glancing header by Trimboli from an Alemayo cross, found Filletti free, and from close range blasted a shot past a stranded Torresan for the equaliser.
Blue Eagles tightened their grip on the game, but failed to get a return for their hard work.
Both coaches used their respective bench to get added run. Legati released Mathew Dawber into the game with his pace, and it nearly paid dividends in the 80’ when he combined well with Trimboli to setup Filletti for a chance on goal, but Torresan was equal to the challenge
John Paul Cirillo, Scot Nagel and Adam LeCornu were outstanding in the Birkalla defence, halting numerous Blue Eagles attacking drives.
Birkalla had the chance to steal the game in the shades of full time with two late corners. The first of two Radice corners found a leaping Kawamura who headed wide. The second corner was desperately cleared only to land at the feet of Vuckic whose shot was cleared off the line to the sound of the final whistle.
Birkalla defender and “Man of the Match” John Paul Cirillo said after the game that Birklla failed to make the most of their early dominance and allowed Blue Eagles to get back into the contest.
“We came into the game knowing that we had to control their runners, and that we had to put early score board pressure. We got the score on the board early in the first half, but they hit back,” Cirillo said.
Cirillo could sense the game was slipping away early in the second half, but paid tribute to his co-defenders for being solid.
“We could have easily let them run over us, but you have to give a lot of credit to Julian (Torresan) Tom (Dittmar). Scot (Nagel) for holding Blue Eagles out.” He said
A disconsolate Blue Eagles coach was disappointed that his side missed some easy chances, but was happy to walk away with at least an away point.
“It is always hard to travel here to tackle Birkalla. They play very good at home, so to take away a point from the game that was up and down for both teams I will be happy to take it,” Legati said.
“I thought we started slow, they got on top early, but we fought back after halftime,” Legati
The final result was justified, as both teams controlled an equal share of the game.
Written by: Joe Pangallo 5RTI Sports 531am