Olympic v Syd Utd

Round 7 Match report by Greg Stock
UTS Olympic v Sydney United

In front of a very disappointing crowd of 5,641 at the Sydney Football Stadium, an equally as disappointing Olympic unit were routed by the league leaders Sydney United in an uninspiring contest. Ably led by former Olympic striker Abbas Saad the United boys played by far the more attacking brand of football and were rewarded with the three points.

Going into this match Olympic coach Geoff Harcombe had grave injury concerns over a number of key players. Returning to the lineup was former Socceroo Chris Kalantzis who partnered Norman Tome up front in the unfamiliar striker position. This move failed with both players failing to generate the dash and space needed to score goals. Harcombe also moved Peter Tsekenis into defence promoting Ante Juric, back from a weeks suspension to midfield. United on the other hand were without player coach David Mitchell after he was sent off for spitting two weeks ago against Melbourne Knights. "Big Mitch" was able to enjoy proceedings from the players area alongside the injured Dave Barrett as he watched his number one striker Abbas Saad put away a brace.

After 36 minutes the Olympic wheels had again come from the wagon. Abbas Saad in the 23rd and 36th minutes had proceeded to rip Olympic apart with two great efforts, the first from a pin point cross from Jacob Burns, the second from a volley after a clever tap on by Burns. Up until this point Olympic had been energetic in attack but lacked the class finish to put away the goal. Kalantzis was wide early as was Emerton who tried hard but was unrewarded.

By half-time the Olympic failful had been subjected to much and were again heading for the exit gate. Their mass exit was made complete in the 67th minute when Abbas Saad was found on the end of a Peter Bennett cross to make it three nil. The game then pettered out with little more than a whimper from Olympic. The decision to give Olympic new recruit Zerda some match time was interesting. The young South American looked skilful enough but obviously lacked the knowledge of team mates and a bit of match fitness to really cause some headaches. Man of the match Saad was replaced by coach Mitchell with 9 minutes to go after a superb match ably assisted by fellow striker Nick Bosevski who provided the Olympic defence plenty of headaches. For Olympic goalkeeper Catlin was brilliant. Denying Bosevski twice in one on one confrontations, he was left badly exposed on a few occassions by a defence that has lost some confidence. Without him the score could have been much more.

Olympic were disappointing and with a large injury toll coach Harcombe is not in an easy position. He still has problems up front with a lack of goals coring in front of goals. The decision to play Tsekenis in defence and Juric in midfield was changed in the second half but at 2-0 down it was hard to see them getting back into the match. On the other hand a bouyant David Mitchell has his well drilled side going great guns undefeated at the top of the NSL ladder. With Barrett still out injured and himself available again next week it will be a difficult selection process out King Tom way during the week.