Zebras Strike Late To Beat Ranges

Zebras Strike Late To Beat Ranges

By Mark Gojszyk (@hahahamark)

Moreland Zebras has produced a thrilling last minute goal to secure a 2-1 win over Whittlesea Ranges in a cold and wet contest at Epping Stadium.

Despite controlling large portions of the match, the visitors left it late to clinch victory due in part to its profligacy, and the spirited efforts of ‘keeper Rasoulzaden-Syesan to keep the hosts in the contest.

New Zealand youth international Tomislav Trbuhovich put Whittlesea ahead in the 33rd minute with a powerful strike on the edge of the box, before Daniel Sweeney levelled the contest in the second half with a similar effort.

It looked like Whittlesea would hold on for a point, but Scott Robson made sure the visitors took the three points home with a cool finish a minute before the final whistle.

Moreland looked more lively from the outset, fashioning its first chance in the 8th minute when Robson played a pinpoint diagonal ball to Danillo Bonillo-Ospina, who ran forward and shot straight at Rasoul.

Whittlesea seemed to lack a killer instinct, taking too long to move the ball forward when a quick break presented itself, or passing too early when retaining possession would have been the smarter option.

It took 26 minutes for Whittlesea to register its first shot, when Costanza ran forward with the ball on the wing and blazed his shot high.

Nick Simeoy then spurned Moreland’s best chance of the half, inexplicably missing wide from 12 yards out after Bonillo-Ospina squared a ball into the box.

He would be made to rue his miss minutes later, as Whittlesea opened the scoring via Trbuhovich.

Chris Taylor controlled the ball after the Zebras cleared the home side’s corner and passed to Trbuhovich who given too much space by the visitors, then he took a few steps and hit a powerful left-footed strike into the net.

Simeoy had a chance to equalise minutes later, but again missed wide after a cross from the right wing landed at his feet. 

After the break, Symeoy missed his third gettable chance when Rasoulzaden-Syesan punched a clearance straight at his feet and left the goals exposed.

Bonillo-Ospina would be the next player guilty of missing a clear-cut opportunity, skying a shot after being played through one-on-one with the Ranges’ custodian.

The backup ‘keeper, only playing due to a workplace injury sustained by first choice Gregory Lascaris, was truly making his mark on the game, sticking out his hand and saving a Nikolic shot from almost point blank range minutes later.

He then put his body on the line and got crunched after cutting off another through ball.

Whittlesea’s chances were far and few between, but Daniel Sotiropoulos had a strong header from a corner saved.

Unfortunately for the home side, its rare foray forward was costly, as the Zebras immediately struck on the counter, with Sweeney receiving the ball on the edge of the box and striking cleanly into the top corner.

The visitors had two more clear chances to score and take the lead, but Nikolic missed a header from point-blank range, and Rasoulzaden-Syesan again pulled off a miracle save to deny Papadimitrou in a one-on-one.

With time running out, a desperate Moreland finally found that elusive winner when a low cross from the left was not cleared, and Robson strode in from midfield to finish it off, showing his teammates how it’s done.

Zebras’ coach Danny Gnjidic was satisfied with the victory, despite believing the contest should have been wrapped up earlier.

“Even with the goal coming so late I think the better team won on the day,” Gnjidic said.

“We started the first half well but let them under our guard, but credit to the boys they responded to instructions well.”

Whittlesea coach Vinko Buljubasic believed his side failed to cope with Moreland’s pressure.

“As a coach, to concede in the 90th minute is disappointing, but it’s another lesson for the boys, how to defend a lead,” Buljabasic said.

“Overall, Moreland deserved to win because they had the better of the chances.” 

The Zebras travel to Dunstan Reserve next week to face to face the table-propping Brunswick, while Whittlesea face a tougher prospect in St Albans. 

Whittlesea Ranges 1 (Trbuhovich 33’) defeated by Moreland Zebras 2 (Sweeney 74’, Robson 90+3’) at Epping Stadium. [HT: 1-0]

Whittlesea Starting XI: 2 Dianoush RASOULZADEN-SYESAN, Andrew TAYLOR, 23 Daniel SOTIROPOULOS, 15 John REALE, 13 Adem MUSTADANAGIC, 14 Daniel PELUSO, 9 Kliment DIMITRIESKI, 12 Tomislav TRBUHOVICH (25 Matthew KONDEVSKI 84’), 24 Rami MUSTAFOSKI, 17 Girolamo COSTANZA (3 Matthew SIMJANOSKI 92’), 16 Mile RISTOV 

Unused Subs: 27 Jarrod HILL, 20 Christopher STOJCEVSKI, 19 Damian SALTANOVSKI

Yellow Cards: MUSTADANAGIC 70’, COSTANZA 80’

Red Cards: None 

Moreland Starting XI: 21 Nikola KOSTANDINOVSI, 2 Simon SIMEOY, 16 Mile MEDJEDOVIC, 18 Adam CENTOFANTI, 3 Johnny CRIVELLI, 19 Brad MURREY, 12 Josh MCMONAGLE–IHASZ (James PAPADIMITROU 65’), 7 Scott ROBSON, 5 Nick SYMEOY, 10 Danillo BONILLO-OSPINA (Daniel SWEENEY 65’), 9 Joel NIKOLIC 

Unused subs: 17 Jack TURNER, 22 Chris TRIANTAFILORULOS, 1 Francesco GRECO

Yellow Cards: Nick SYMEOY 90’ 

Red Cards: None


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