Inspired by Australia’s opening performance in the World Cup in 2014 (vs Chile 1-3), team 4 arrived at Park 10 with sleep deprived good intentions. Uni SA at this stage of the competition was a point above us in 4th place on the table.
Damir Dokic was referee for the match, much to the dismay of most. However he appeared in a good mood as the fish at the buffet must have been reasonably priced.
Coach Bresolin started with a strong formation (leaving himself on the bench). Early doors there was open play with loads of niggles in midfield. Ten minutes in, a goal mouth scramble in the USA penalty box resulted in several attempts to clear the ball by USA. They only succeeded in slamming the ball into James Ballacco’s shin from where, the fortuitous rebound shot straight into the bottom right corner of the net.
Interviews with Mr Ballacco post match revealed that he had been practicing Snooker prior to the game and purportedly had worked out all angles and positioned himself suitably.
1-0 to the Whites franchise. What followed was a high pressing USA barrage of attacks. The Uni White midfield in a 4-4-2 formation appeared to have forgotten what this system looked like and generally 2 midfielders were defending against the waves of attack. However the pressing game resulted in good opportunities at the other end too. One of the fast breaks resulted in a ball being forced forward by Phil and Saber, the latter sensibly raising his head at approach to the penalty box and spotting a free Pfitzner at the top of the D. What followed was German precision at its best, with a cool side footed finish into the right bottom corner. The Keeper was useless… I mean he was without chance of saving the shot. The Kouros Karamba celebration ensued.
Not long after that a frustrated USA player with a bad haircut decided that he would work some magic off the ball by slinging a Uni Whites player to the ground. Yellow card and warnings followed.
Minutes later, USA got into the Whites box and a perfectly timed Alberton challenge caused a USA player to do an impression of a swallow that will surely win an award at this years Oscars. Resultant penalty was converted by USA. 2-1.
But the previously warned USA player decided that some more shoving and niggling would be useful. This view was not shared by Damir Dokic, who sent the USA player off, some time before half time.
After the change, Whites got some of their structure back and the main worry was that players got injured and started dropping like flies. Somi was already off in the first half, Alberton was still sooky about the penalty decision and promptly overstretched his hamstring. Whites had a complete reset in forwards and backs and Ballacco took over at full back post Adi and Alberton coming off. Bresolin brought himself on as Striker. Chad formidably replaced Rob at center back and Bobby subbed on for Saf.
You would think that this would confuse the side, but playing against ten USA players appeared to confound us more. Because they were doing well. A lot of good control and movement by them, however the last third proved impenetrable for USA.
USA had changed a back four to a back three and thus more opportunities also eventuated for the Whites. Phil missed a header and a shot by Saber narrowly went over. But when Ben Bol Bol broke through on the right and delivered a super cross, Roger Milla-esque, Steve Bresolin managed to get to the back post just in time to volley a left foot strike with enormous force into the top left hand corner of the USA goal from 6 yards out.
Bresolin re-counted after the game that the sweet left footed connection was better than vanilla ice cream and that at the age of 57 he is still able to teach a thing or two about football.
What followed was a largely composed (but by no means error free) D’s side seeing out the game. However 1 minute before the end of the game, a collision between Bresolin and Lim in goals caused another scramble (this time in the Uni Whites penalty area) and with both players on the ground, a left footed shot by USA was unable to be blocked and caused a final score of 3 goals to 2.
This is the second time we beat USA in season 2014 (Cup and League), who finished above us last year and have a strong and skilfull side.
Well done to all. Good team effort.