By Roanna Sanelli
Photo: Dion Fountas
The St Albans Saints have made an early exit from the FFA Cup after a 2-3 loss to the St Kilda Celts at Churchill Reserve on Saturday.
Dinamo headed into the match as favourites against their State League one opponents and several changes were made to the starting line-up.
Marko Bagaric, Dominic Falla and Adrian Barresi, all made the starting line-up as coach Kruni Razov sought to place pressure on the visitors from the opening whistle.
Indeed, it was the hosts whom took charge as they maintained possession and attempted to squeeze and push the Celts off every ball.
Several early missed opportunities gave the Saints the attacking momentum and confidence.
In fact, it was Joseph Monek whose one on one attempt with the opposition goalkeeper nearly gave his side the lead.
The unsettled nature of the visitors coupled with their lack of group communication worked against them as they struggled to maintain any form of possession.
However, following a strike of luck, it was Dylan Tate whom struck the ball past the reach of Robert Santilli from the edge of area.
The goal caught the Saints by surprise and created a sense of unrest in the second term with the Celts heightening their intensity.
Indeed, it was not long before they doubled their lead following an excellent two-man exchange.
Razov made a double substitution and put Hernan Espindola and Nana Yaw into the mix in the search of two goals in quick succession.
Several minutes later, it seemed his wish was answered when Rodrigo Covarrubias slotted home following excellent passing by captain Michael Grgic and Monek.
The midfielder was again the catalyst moments after where in which his run was cut short by a brash tackle inside the box.
A subsequent penalty was awarded to the hosts and was converted by Monek whom equalised.
Dinamo used long passes in an attempt to score a winning goal, yet it was the visitors whom capitalised on a saints’ error.
A converted header in the final minutes of the match was enough to secure a victory for the state 1 league side whom progress into the next round of the FFA Cup.
The Saints return to their NPL2 fixture with their clash against the Moreland Zebras on Saturday.