Two of the Premier League heavy weights clashed at Macedonia Park on Saturday afternoon with Wollongong United edging out Wollongong Olympic 1-0 who played with nine-men for entire second half.
These matches are never short of drama and intensity, but it was United who just scraped through and grabbed the three points after scoring from the penalty spot in the 70th minute.
It was a fast-paced start to the match with an outstanding long-ball from Olympic’s defence line, that would later fall into the feet of striker Yuto Sugiura, before his powerful shot flew over the cross bar for a chance in the first minute of the game.
Just minutes later, a similar chance would strike again for United’s Joshua Correia, except this time his shot landed in the hands of goalkeeper Cristofer Fuentes.
In the 11th minute a free-kick chance from Olympics Harry Callahan looked to be dangerous but is went just wide of the far post.
The home side would soon fight back with a long ball from Mitsuo Yamada into the head of Kyah Jovanovski who sent his chance off target.
An accurate corner ball was sent back post to Rick Goodchild, whose powerful effort flew over the cross bar, denying Olympics chance at goal once more.
In the 45th minute, a second yellow card for Mark Every sent him walking, giving the home side a golden chance from the penalty spot.
Seiji Kawakami stepped up to the penalty spot but sent his shot high, hitting the cross bar.
Incredibly, the action wasn’t over when the referee found a handball infringement by Olympic, awarding United a second penalty in seconds. In the ensuing aftermath, David Hartas was also marched for stepping over the mark with his protest.
This time, Rene Vescio stepped up to the penalty spot, but he was denied as Fuentas made a fine save.
With two penalties and two red cards in the final minute of the first half, both sides headed into the sheds with the scores set at 0-0.
Jovanovski came close in the second half with a precise shot on target but is saved by a solid Olympic defence.
55 minutes in, a rebound ball fell in front of Goodchild who sat just outside the 18-yard box before powerfully striking the ball toward the top left corner, forcing Shaw to make an outstanding save!
Both Correia and Jovanovski went back on the attack for United, travelling past their defenders and coming at close range but could not make the shot.
Minutes later, a nice flick on from Yamada into Darjani sent him down the line and into the box who was shortly taken down by Olympics defenders before a third penalty was rewarded to the home side.
Mitsuo Yamada stepped up and made no mistake this time, effortlessly sending his penalty shot into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead in the 70th minute. The nine-man Olympic side were defiant but it was the home side who saw out the game to complete a memorable match.
Wollongong United 1 (Mitsuo Yamada 70’)
Wollongong Olympic 0
Wollongong United: 64. SHAW Dion, 4. VESCIO Rene, 5. LAZAREVSKI Danny, 7. CORREIA Joshua, 10. MAKOWSKI Jayden, 11. JOVANOVSKI Kyah, 19. BROOKS Benjamin, 23. YAMADA Mitsuo, 26. KAWAKAMI Seiji, 27. BABAROVSKI Bailey, 46. MITROVSKI Brendan
Substitutes: 9. DARJANI Thomas, 15. CUNZULO Daniel, 17. BOUTOUBIA Jacob, 31. HALES Aaron, 37. RIDLEY Preston, 61. CHARLSON Jake
Wollongong Olympic: 1. FUENTES Cristofer, 4. PRICE Christopher, 6. HARTAS David, 8. CALLAHAN Harry, 9. SUGIURA Yuto, 10. GOODCHILD Rick, 14. WATTS Brad, 15. LITTLER Nick, 26. EVERY Mark, 54. ALCORN Joshua
Substitutes: 7. DIAZ Tynan, 17. O’ROURKE James, 21. CHILTON Liam, 23. MICHALOPOULOS Jonathon, 77. PASFIELD Justin
Date: 13 May 2023
Venue: Macedonia Park
Referee: Peter Ilcevski
Assistant Referee: Tony Roder
Report by Alison Dinh, on Twitter @alisondinh_
Photos courtesy of Richie Wagner