Photo: Dion Fountas
As Epping Stadium welcomed our 2019 campaign, Kruni Razov’s side had plans of their own as they defeated Whittlesea Ranges six-nil on Saturday afternoon.
With the 15:00 kick-off allowing for perfect match conditions, the Saints did not take their foot off the pedal as they secured a two-nil lead in the first half.
The opening of the 2019 account came in the 19th minute from Adam Hodor, who scored on debut after Vice-Captain Matthew Cundari unselfishly squared the ball across the box.
15 minutes later, Whittlesea’s goalkeeper Gian Tapia mistakenly threw the ball into Saints’ feet and Anthony Kataforis followed through with a searching effort which flew just over the bar.
Right before the halfway mark, Captain Michael Grgic found himself on the end of a Ben Shaper cross and doubled the visitors lead with his head.
The 57th minute called for the triple as Stefan Baricevic found the back of the net directly from a corner.
With 25 minutes left to play, Razov went to the bench and replaced Hernan Espindola with Dom Falla.
Just four minutes later, another debut goal was seen as Deji Omoboye’s hard work paid off when the striker found his way around Tapia to walk the ball into the goal.
With 20 minutes left to play at four-nil, goalscorer Hodor was replaced by the returning Joseph Monek who made an instant impact.
Ten minutes into his Saints return, Monek found the back of the net after latching onto a Grgic through ball.
The final substitution for the Saints came in the 81st minute when David Stojic replaced Baricevic.
With just three minutes remaining till full-time to the chants of “it’s like you never left”, Monek doubled up as a loose ball made it to his feet inside the box to make it six.
Saints’ impressive performance shows that this season’s priorities are based on success, leaving the message clear on the pitch.
Post-Match Interview with Kruni Razov
JH: The first round is now behind us and maximum points have been secured, how important was this win away from home and what was the mood in the dressing room like post-match?
KR: If you came in the dressing room you would’ve seen that they’re really enjoying themselves, they deserve everything they got today. It’s 13 weeks of hard preseason that comes together. You never know what you’re going to get from round one, but they came today and did the job. They were fantastic today.
JH: It was a solid performance from the boys who just didn’t let Whittlesea create anything too dangerous. Do you count clean sheets and how important are they when you can achieve them without your first-choice goalkeeper?
KR: 100%, you don’t concede goals, you don’t lose games. That’s the message I keep thumping into their head week in, week out. We’re happy to concede one if we need too because we are confident, we can score goals. A very solid performance, we had a game plan and stuck to it and it worked.
JH: Six goals from five different outlets today, are you surprised at how well this result turned out and how will you handle the headache of choosing the starting eleven next week?
KR: Scoring six goals is always a surprise, especially when you win away from home like that in round one. I’m pleasantly surprised and yes it will be a headache, but I’ve still got a lot of players injured and playing in the 20’s. It’s a big headache but we will make it work.
JH: Next up, Moreland City, they suffered a 2-0 loss at home to Moreland Zebras today and went a man down. Is the team confident they can make it two from two in their first home game of 2019?
KR: Absolutely, we haven’t beaten Moreland City for many years and to see them in our first home game gives us a massive confidence without being arrogant. No doubt will be a big test for us.
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