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  • Writer's pictureAntonis Pagonis

NPL SA 2024: The winners and losers from Round 10

Throughout the 2024 NPL SA season, Front Page Football  looks at each week's big winners and losers from the action-packed South Australian top flight. Below are our picks from Round 10.

Front Page Football: Christian Sotira Yared Abetew NPL SA 2024

MetroStars' Christian Sotira takes on Adelaide City's Yared Abetew in Round 10 of the 2024 NPL SA season. (Image: Pagonis Photography)


Captain's goal wins Olympic crucial six-pointer

Round 10 kicked off with a crucial encounter for the lower region of the table as 12th-placed South Adelaide played hosts to 10th-placed Adelaide Olympic. After a scoreless encounter against Para Hills the previous week, the visitors scored first at the O'Sullivan Beach Sports & Community Centre when Brian Habonimana unselfishly set up Binyam Kebede for the opening goal.

Olympic managed to take the lead into the break, but as proves to be the case too often, Jonathon Rideout had his say in the second period. The Panthers' star man capitalised on South Adelaide's strong start to the half when he pounced on a pass from his brother, Alex, before shooting his team back on level terms from a tight angle.

The game began settling into a stalemate that did not suit either side's survival ambitions. That was until the 89th minute when Olympic captain James Polli found himself free on the edge of the South Adelaide area, smashing home a lay-off to claim three massive points for his side, who are unbeaten over the past month with two wins and two draws.

Para Hills earn an impressive point

Campbelltown City's Steve Woodcock Sports Centre is a difficult place for visiting teams to travel to. The Red Devils' Newton base has historically been a fortress, and over the last 12 months it has even claimed an A-League Men scalp in the form of Macarthur FC.

The trip does not get easier for a recently promoted side like the Para Hills Knights, yet despite the imposing challenge, the visitors took an early lead after Kairo Felix's bouncing volley off a Diego Santos De Oliveira pass beat Alex Woodlands in goal. Early in the second half, Campbelltown's Marc Marino continued his hot form by beating Yanni Delengas at his near post with a low long-range shot that levelled the scoring.

Parity did not last, with Afghanistan international Sayeed Reza Hussaini restoring the Knights' lead only three minutes later. The joy was short-lived, though, with the lead being taken away from the visitors as swiftly as they regained it when a trademark Alex Mullen header on the goalline neutralised the Para Hills backline.

The scoreline did not change, with the Knights leaving the game disappointed to have only gained a point despite a strong showing, but undoubtedly proud for being able to lead twice away from home against one of the competition's premier sides.

10-man Modbury remain irresistible

Only 12 minutes into their visit to the Croatian Sports Centre, the Modbury Jets would have been overjoyed to see their dream early season form continue when Francesco Schimizzi opened the scoring against the Adelaide Croatia Raiders. Disaster struck minutes later when Jets defender Jokew Wuol was sent off for a handball that Croatia a clear goalscoring opportunity. In the blink of an eye, Katsuyoshi Kimishima brought the hosts level, with the high-flying visitors suddenly left with one less player with over an hour of game time still to play.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Modbury astonishingly regained the lead after an errant Jai King challenge on Hamish McCabe sent Jets captain Jesse Francesca to the penalty spot, where he made no mistake. Croatia did not wait for the second half, though, with Stefan Matteo returning to haunt his old side with a curling finish from inside the box after being smartly set up by Calum Campbell.

Modbury's defensive cohesion has improved in 2024, and having already played an hour of football with one less player against the MetroStars earlier in the season, Maurice Natale's side was prepared to stifle Raiders' advances. The cherry on top of a second half of hard work and concentration was an 89th minute counter-attack, which was eventually worked to Hamish McCabe, who gave his undermanned side a third, decisive goal.

Modbury remains at the top of the NPL SA for another week, and they are seemingly adding more strings to their bow every game.



Beograd give up top six chance

FK Beograd's clash with Adelaide United shaped up as a crucial one heading towards the halfway point of the season, with the winner guaranteed to end the round in the top six. Beograd defeated a strong Adelaide United side in pre-season and were again up to the challenge in Round 10, with Yudai Koike opening the scoring for Adrian D'Aloia's side.

Young Reds winger Harry Crawford was afforded a rare starting opportunity in the club's senior NPL team and took his chance with both hands by levelling the score minutes later. A hard-fought first half settled into a stalemate after the break, before a former Young Red broke the deadlock.

Jason Konstandopoulos' free kick found Koike at the back post, and the goalscorer's header picked out Massimo Falco, who restored Beograd's lead. The hosts entered injury time ahead of the Young Reds on the scoreboard and on the ladder, suddenly into the top six.

But the script flipped again when Daniel Goni brought down Jonny Yull in the box. It was left to Luka Jovanovic to equalise, with the striker stepping up to the penalty spot and scoring against his junior club to ensure the points were split.

Beograd's effort on the day against a stacked Adelaide United side was admirable. Still, they will be hurting knowing they were minutes away from a victory that would have seen them leapfrog their opposition into the top six.
Front Page Football: FK Beograd Adelaide United NPL SA 2024

A late penalty saw FK Beograd and Adelaide United split the points in Round 10. (Image: Pagonis Photography)

Metro gift City a point

Adelaide City's 2024 struggles have been well documented. In Round 10, it did not get any easier for Paul Pezos' men, who entered their clash against the MetroStars winless in the league since the second week of the season. The Black and White seemed ready to end their series of unfortunate results when Metro goalkeeper Cody Oestreich spilled his attempted save off a deflected shot, allowing Daniel Bressan to open the scoring for the hosts.

A Kerrin Stokes handball allowed Ren Nagamatsu to level the scoring from the penalty spot shortly before the 10-minute mark. Still, despite MetroStars' territorial dominance for the rest of the half, City worked hard to contain their opponent's attacking prowess.

Nagamatsu's aerial threat and a pinpoint Scott Nagel cross combined to thrust Adelaide City back into a losing position after half-time. However, unlike previous weeks, the hosts still had gas left in the tank, and their increased desperation and proactive substitutions mounted the pressure on the MetroStars.

Eventually, it was Maceo Jones who calamitously turned a Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio cross into his own net to give City their first points since early March, ensure Metro stumbled, and allow Modbury some breathing room at the competition's summit.

Front Page Football: Adelaide City MetroStars NPL SA 2024

A late own goal saw MetroStars drop points against an out-of-form Adelaide City. (Image: Pagonis Photography)

Comets continue to leave points on the table

The Adelaide Comets' fortnight entering Round 10 may have been a frustrating one, but it was not without its silver linings. George Tsonis' side drew against the high-flying Modbury Jets and an A-League-heavy Adelaide United side but were left disappointed after having the best of the second half in both encounters.

In Round 10, the Comets faced a Croydon side that was missing its marksman Andre Carle due to suspension. Despite the expectation of goals, neither side could even place a shot on target throughout the first 45 minutes of their encounter.

The game opened up slightly in the second half, but the quality of the chances still left much to be desired. Croydon going goalless without Carle against an imposing backline may not have been a surprise.

But the Comets will be severely disappointed to draw another game after showing their quality over the previous two weeks without earning maximum points for their efforts.


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