Josip’s Madgic earns Knights a point

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By David Manuca

A Josip Magdic equalizer early in the second half earnt the Melbourne Knights a 1-1 draw with Richmond Eagles at Knights Stadium on Friday Night.

Michael Ferrante scored his fourth goal of the season to put Richmond ahead in the 14th minute but Magdic’s second half equalizer ensured the points were to be shared.

The Knights hadn’t won a game since March 20 when they thrashed Bentleigh Greens 4-0 at home and the 1-1 draw sees the Knights go four games without a win.

Richmond’s last win also came against Bentleigh on April 3 and are now winless in their last three matches.

Melbourne Knights manager Paul Magdic made no changes to the starting eleven that drew with St. Albans a fortnight ago, with the only change being Rivdan Saglam replacing Joseph Franjic on the bench.

Richmond manager Michael Chatzitrifonos made one change to the starting line-up replacing Stuart Wilson with Mate Eterovic.

Paul Magdic was looking for his first win since taking over from Ivan Duzel a few weeks ago and was hoping for the best possible start to the game.

The game didn’t start very brightly as both sides took a while to get into any sort of rhythm. Antun Kovacic’s stray pass fell to Mathieu Welmant gifting him the first real opportunity of the game but his left-footed strike was straight at Richmond stopper Stjepan Gal.

But a minute later, in the 14th minute, Richmond took the lead. Mate Eterovic produced a great piece of individual skill down the left, dribbling past two defenders before cutting the ball back to Michael Ferrante on the edge of the area who emphatically blasted the ball home to put Richmond ahead.

Jean-Charles Dubois nearly put the Knights level on the half-hour mark when he glided past two defenders before releasing a tame shot that had the keeper scrambling as it hit the post and rebounded out only for a Richmond player to clear it away.

The two sides went into the break with the two pieces of individual brilliance from Eterovic and Dubois and obviously the goal by Ferrante the only exciting parts of the first half.

Magdic made a change at half time taking off Craig Sweeney who didn’t look fully fit, replacing him with Josip Kozic.

Chatzitrifonos also decided to make a change four minutes into the second half with Evan Batsis coming on for Chris O’Hare.

Batsis didn’t even have an opportunity to touch the ball before the Knights found themselves level.

Paul Magdic found some space in the area and unleashed a cracking effort which Gal could do nothing about. It was game on.

With the Knights back level they pushed hard instantly for a second with the Richmond defence looking very nervous.

On the 70th minute mark Richmond had their best opportunity to go back in-front. Dimitri Tsiaris was played in one on one with the keeper but he appeared to slip when taking his shot resulting in the ball going harmlessly wide of the goal.

A few minutes later Dubios was given the space to run inside the box but he was without any support and decided to take a shot from a tight angle which was saved and pushed out for a corner by Gal.

The corner was cleared by Richmond but Kozic collected the ball and crossed it back in with Dragicevic literally centimetres away from getting his head to it.

With 10 minutes left Richmond were so close to re-taking the lead. Dimitri Tsiaras played a great ball over the top of the Knights defence from inside his own half which Michael Catalano chested down beautifully and he continued his run but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.

Knights sensed they could find a winner and Dubois had a chance when he created some space for himself on the edge of the area but his shot went just wide.

Ryan Filipovic, the hero from the Knights 1-1 draw against St. Albans a fortnight ago, tried his luck from long range but his powerful effort went straight to the keeper.

The last chance of the game fell to the Knights when Dubois’ great cross in from a free kick was met by the head of Filipovic but his header flashed agonizingly wide of the goal.

The referee blew the final whistle and was instantly surrounded by players questioning some decisions made in the game, but nothing could change the final score of one-all.

The next round of the VPL sees Richmond host St. Alban Saints on Saturday afternoon whilst the Knights have an away trip to Hume City on the Sunday.

Match Highlights courtesy of The Football Sack Media Partner, Football Federation Victoria.

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