Blacktown Spartans ruined the debut of Sydney Olympic’s former Greek international Sotirios Kyrgiakos with a 3-1 win at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.
More than 7000 fans turned out to see Kyrgiakos in action with the home team taking the lead in the 13th minute via Amaury Gauthier.
But a double to Elsid Barkhousir and fantastic solo effort by Ray Miller saw the Spartans make it two from two to open their account in this year’s National Premier League NSW Men’s 1 competition.
Blacktown Spartans showed their intent early, winning a corner in the first minute only to be easily cleared by the Olympic defence.
Brett Studman moved forward with vengeance only five minutes later rising well for a corner only to glance his header across the face of goal.
Sydney Olympic eased their way into the game with William Angel and Evan Kostopoulos starting to trouble the Spartans out wide.
The pressure paid off in the 13th minute when Olympic took the lead. After Kostopoulos was fouled on the left hand side, Harris Gaitatzis stepped up to float the ball to the back stick. The Spartans failed to clear before Amaury Gauthier popped up to put the ball into the back of the net.
Blacktown was not resting on their laurels and in the 18th minute Greg Kondek switched the play to David Gullo whose header found Elsid Barkhousir. The former Sydney Olympic striker turned quickly before his shot trickled to the hands of the waiting Paul Henderson.
Kostopoulos continued to trouble the away side all over the park and on 24 minutes thought he had doubled his side’s lead, only to be called back for being offside.
Olympic’s constant pressure in the middle of the park forced Blacktown into another mistake on 35 minutes when Taiga Soeda won the ball before feeding Angel on the left whose imposing shot was saved by a diving Saliadarre.
Kyrgiakos got into the act two minutes later, getting on the end of a free kick but only to lash the ball well over the bar.
The missed chances came back to haunt Olympic in the 41st minute when former striker Barkhousir was found free down the middle before calmly slotting the ball under an Henderson and into the goal to bring the scores level.
Blacktown started the second half much like the first, pushing forward with numbers but unable to find the right ball to open the Olympic defence.
It would be the Olympic faithful who were off their seats in the 55th minute though when Sotirios Kyrgiakos went centimetres away from scoring, heading the ball just wide of the left hand upright.
Two minutes later the Blues were again on the front foot with Gaitazis finding Gauthier in the middle of the park whose shot went sailing over the bar.
Gaitatzis went for the spectacular in the 64th minute, connecting with a bicycle kick that couldn’t trouble Saliadarre in goal.
Blacktown quickly countered onto the other side of the park to create a chance of their own as Corey Biczo’s 20 yard shot missing the target.
With 20 minutes to go Blacktown Spartans coach Ben De Haan turned to his bench replacing Kingsley Williams with former Olympic captain Phil Makrys.
The move brought a spark to the Spartans attack immediately as they took the lead for the first time in the match as Barkhousir taking on Brendan Hooper before beautifully curling the ball into the net to make it 2-1 in the 74th minute.
Blacktown was not done there as they continued pushing forward. With 10 minutes remaining Makrys saw his free kick blocked by a carefully constructed wall only for Ray Miller to move forward and strike his shot over the bar.
Miller would not make the same mistake again and in the 83rd minute dribbled his way through three defenders before curling the ball into the back of the net making it 3-1.
The Blues were not letting go of any chance of a comeback and in the 87th minute two chances to score in the same play, only for Saliadarre to save well.
Sydney Olympic 1 (Gauthier 13’)
Blacktown Spartans 3 (Barkhousir 41’,74’, Miller 83’)
Venue: Belmore Sports Ground
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant referees: Lance Greenshield and Craig Fisher
Fourth Official: David Hasslett
Sydney Olympic: 1. Paul Henderson, 7. William Angel, 10. Harris Gaitatzis ( 33. Christos Tomaras 74’), 24. Amaury Gauthier, 9. Dimitri Hatzimouratis (39. Michael Gaitatzis 68’), 4. Brendan Hooper, 23. Evan Kostopoulos, 14. Petar Markovic (c), 2. Brayden Sorge, 18. Taiga Soeda (5. Bradley Treloar 45’), 16. Sotirios Kyrgiakos
Substitutions not used: 15. Yiannia Spyrakis, 40. Liam Jacobs, 5. Bradley Treloar, , 8. Chris Godoy Bascur
Yellow Cards: Kostopoulos 24’
Red Cards: nil
Blacktown Spartans: 9. Elsid Barkhousir, 13. Corey Biczo( 14. Jacob Ott 88’), 17. Keiran Dalto, 10. Emmanuel Giannaros, 11.David Gullo, 6. Greg Kondek (2. Luke Austin 62’), 8. Ray Miller, 3. Nathan Millgate, 1. Carlos Saliadarre (c), 4. Brett Studman, 15. Kingsley Williams ( 7. Phil Makrys 70’)
Substitutions not used: 21. Riley Keayes, 19. Reid Taylor
Yellow Cards: Giannaros 43’, Millgate 53’, Biczo 84’
Red Cards: nil
3 – Elsid Barkhousir (BS)
2 – Ray Miller (BS)
1 – Evan Kostopoulos (SO)
-By Chris Georges