Palmerston settled quickly and the match looked pretty even for the first few minutes as both teams worked each other out. The heat obviously played a big factor in the change of pace when Palmerston became physical, attacking player instead of ball for the majority of the game. Frustration and anger soon seeped into the Olympic side as foul after foul appeared to be ignored by the referee. Mistakes and miscommunication soon followed as Palmerston hammered us, putting two goals in before the half time whistle. To add insult to injury, Olympic were also dished up 4 yellows (red following a double) and left to play the rest of the game with 10 men. Needless to say the spectators on the sideline were not happy.
Following a quick team talk during half time, the lads came out more determined for the second. Olympic fumbled a number of golden opportunities in front of the box and it was only a matter of time before Warkina Tujuba got one back for our side and the game was on again. Palmerston resorted back to their physical attacks and Captain Dimitri Apostolakis was soon helped off the field with a knee injury that saw him out for the rest of the tournament. Moments later, Palmerston scored their third as the remaining defence failed to clear the ball and our Keeper misjudging his timing
With just over 5 minutes to go, Robbie Bradley slotted a second goal for Olympic, giving the team some hope to go further. Sore, tired and hot, the lads continued to take shots, only to have most go wide. The boys gave 100% but ended their run with a disappointing defeat. Olympic lost 2-3.
Olympic then moved on to meet Victoria University, the losing team from the other Quarter Final. Calmer, the team played the game with more discipline and determination and the game flowed nicely. Olympic attacked from the first blow of the whistle, putting Victoria on the backfoot. A more solid backline made it hard for Victoria to penetrate, our midfield was more secure and our forwards took every opportunity to come down on them fast. A nice cross in the 7th minute from Guest Player James Ignatidis to Jacob Jajjo on the right wing, had the Keeper running for the ball and vacating his goal. A beautiful chip over the Keeper's head put Jacob on the score-sheet and had the supporters celebrating.
The second half saw James explode in the 29th minute, pushing through Victoria's defence and bringing the ball in close to goal, then placed the ball nicely just past the Keeper in the far right corner. This was a wake-up call for Victoria as they began to change their pace while tightening up on their defence. Olympic, on the other hand, started to get a bit lethargic (the sun was really hot) and the ball spent a lot of time going from one side of the field to the other, with neither team really making any progress for the rest of the game. Olympic win 2-nil.
Our Final was played against our Pool opponents, Island Bay. From the first whistle, Island Bay went out to win. They chased every ball, they fought for possession, they tackled hard and tried to frustrate our lads, but Olympic held their own and although Island Bay played with more urgency, they couldn't get the better of our lads. Chances went missing on both sides with Olympic taking the majority of shots, but nothing came out of these and the game ended in a nil-all draw.
The final result rested in a penalty shoot-out. Having won the toss, Island Bay took to shooting first. The agony watching this shoot out was showing on everybody's face as player after player had to take their turn from the penalty spot.
11 shots were taken from each team (yes, this was agonizing!)
Some great saves from both Keepers and missed chances kept the shoot-out going. Unfortunately with the teams locked at 4 goals each after the 5th man, the strain was starting to show.
With both teams successfully slotting 8 goals each, Island Bay's 11th man came up for the shot. Another goal. 11th man for Olympic - SAVED and the game as over.
Well done to both Keepers (Olympic's Chris Kotrotsos and Island Bay's Mario Kotsapas).
Final score: Olympic: 8 v 9 Island Bay:
A great tournament and good practice run for the u19s Napier Tournament being played over Labour weekend, but there's a lot of work to be done in the meantime to make sure this squad is ready, tightening up on problem areas with the coaches confirming the final 18 man squad.
Thanks again to the many loyal supporters that came out today to cheer our lads on.
OLYMPIC SQUAD - 11 October
Dimitri Apostolakis (Captain)