Defender Ajdin Fetahagic is set to miss Heidelberg United’s first home game of the NPL men’s season following a red card in the opening round.
The ‘Bergers will face Dandenong Thunder this Sunday and are looking to bounce back from their 3-1 first round loss to South Melbourne at Lakeside Stadium on Thursday night.
Compounding to the derby defeat, Fetahagic immediately saw red at the hand of the referee and was sent off in the second half following a last ditch tackle on South Melbourne forward Alun Webb, when the opposition quickly broke away on a counterattack.
Intervening was the only choice that had remained to keep Webb from getting into a one-on-one situation with Berger’s keeper Nicholas Eres, resulting in Fetahagic committing the professional foul. This saw Heidelberg play out the final 25 minutes of the match with 10 men.
Speaking post-match to HUFC Media, men’s head coach George Katsakis shared his thoughts of the decision,
“It was a definite red card that came from our mistake,” he said.
“We conceded two soft goals and the third one caught us out by playing a ball that got intercepted which allowed South to drive through the middle of the park.
“Ajdin had no option but to create the foul and unfortunately resulted in the last man red card.”
The starting line-up for the traditional derby featured five players that were new to the club, offering up new experiences especially in the derby.
“It’s the first game of the year so we had a few people in unfamiliar territory, especially being a massive game against South Melbourne at Lakeside,” he said.
“People stepped in and did a job and gave it what they had, however the end result is obviously wasn’t what we looking for.
“With time, people will be better for the experience understanding the formation and what we’re trying to do.”
The forced omission of Fetahagic due to his suspension means that the second round of the season may see the addition of yet another new face to the starting XI, as the Berger’s look to collect their first three points of the campaign come Sunday afternoon at Catalina St.