Olympic v Kingz

Round 1 report by Chris Dunkerley
Sydney Olympic v Football Kingz

The Football Kingz found very quickly on Sunday evening at Belmore that pre-season form in their own country does not translate as easily in NSL competition in another.

Sydney Olympic were never in danger of losing this game at any stage, though the manner in which they opened the scoring was not without its controversial aspects.

Both sides had several fresh faces, but the Kingz looked far more ill at ease than the home team which played in a manner that gave an impression that they had played together for a very long time.

Olympic did much good work on the flanks and had their passing game going nicely, with all the defenders chiming in at various stages of proceedings to emphasise their dominance.

Ante Juric typified this in the 13th minute when he got forward and then on the end of a neat cross from the lively Nick Carle on the left, only to smash the underside of the bar with his fierce drive, as the keeper looked well beaten.

Three minutes later Carle again sent over a cross from the left and newcomer Greg Owens arrived only a split second too late to steer the ball past Marsh.

Owens, who was wasteful throughout the game, due perhaps to Olympic debut game nerves, screwed his shot wide from 12 yards out in the 30th after a solid team build up.

Referee Mark Shield chose to ignore the raised flag of his assistant Stewart Lockrey on the right touchline in the 34th minute when Scott Baillie pushed a ball towards Owens who was positioned just in front of him and behind the last defender. Owens chose not to chase the ball, instead allowing Baillie to continue his run and stride past an appealing Kingz defence, then cutting the ball back from the byline for Ante Moric to slide the ball in from the 6 yard mark.

Shield immediately conferred with Lockrey and quickly pointed to the centre for the goal.

Moric then headed wide in the 38th while a sloppy piece of defending allowed Paul Urlovic to steal possession for a rare chance for the visitors in the 41st, but the visitor hit his attempt on goal wide and with little power anyway.

As the game went on the Kingz looked more and more like a side trying to limit the damage against an increasingly confident and dominant adversary.

They sparked a little after introducing substitute Dennis Ibrahim, who got into the box a couple of times only to find the keeper too smart.

Olympic had been threating to score a second and eventually they did.

Carle again, a revelation a the start of the new season, got to the left byline and cut the ball back to the right edge of the area where the skilful Kresemir Marusic slotted home easily.

Not a good start for the Kingz who may take time to settle this season. The seemed to lack a presence on the flanks and were turned inside out by Carle and co.

Things are bound to pick up especially once they get back on home soil. They made a similarly slow start last term. Olympic began as they did last season with a comprehensive home win in front of a good humoured crowd in perfect playing conditions.