by John Fotinos
On a very damp pitch against a less fancied but determined opponent, Heidelberg United has comfortably progressed through to Round 6 of the Australia Cup against Altona East Phoenix SC.
Following on from a strong win away at Hume City on Easter Saturday, the ‘Bergers faced the State League NW outfit, and in truth were rarely troubled in an emphatic 5-0 win, with Phoenix doing themselves few favours after being reduced to 10 men after little more than 20 minutes of play.
Goals in either half to in-form striker Kaine Sheppard, along with the opening strike of the night by Okada, were added to by a cheeky header by Zahra and a neat finish by Ninkovic, as the ‘Bergers dominated possession and created numerous chances. The Phoenix players battled on gamely throughout, but from early on in the match, the edge in class showed out.
Coach George Katsakis was pleased to get through to the next phase of the competition.
“After getting knocked out last year (by Nunawading), we want to go into any game of this competition with our best eleven possible, which we’ve done again tonight.”
“It was also an opportunity to give some of the young lads from our Under 21s a taste of senior football late on, such as Huss (Al Sharifi), Matty (Tsalikidis) and Nick (Pappas).”
The only sour point to come after a comprehensive display was a leg injury sustained by Ivan Franjic, forcing the ‘Berger man off early and an early exit for the offending Phoenix player.
The attention now turns back to the NPL action, with Heidelberg on the road again this Saturday (April 23) at the Frank Houlihan Soccer Complex in the rescheduled Round 10 fixture – with kick off at 4:45pm against Dandenong City SC.
Match Details: Round 5 Australian Cup Fixture
Heidelberg United FC 5 (Sheppard 23’, 89’, Okada 15’, Zahra 57’, Ninkovic 71’) – 0 Altona East Phoenix SC
GK – 63 – Nick Eres
5 – Ajdin Fetahagic (4 – Mallan Roberts 55’)
6 – Joseph Franjic (38 – Matthew Tsalikidis 81’)
9 – Adrian Zahra (capt)
10 – Ivan Franjic (8 – Dominic Falla 24’)
14 – Kaine Sheppard
18 – Anthony Theodoropoulos
20 – Luka Ninkovic (24 – Hiussain Al Sharifi 81’)
21 – Eoin Ashton (40 – Nicholas Pappas 81’)
22 – Kazuki Okada
23 – Chudiar Tarjiath
Sub not used;
GK – 1 – Brendan White