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Semi Finals - Under 13s Report -17 Sept 2015

Posted: 17-Sep-2015 by Hakoah Sydney City East Football Club

The U13s suffered a narrow 3-2 loss to miss out on a place in the Grand Final, but not before putting up a fight. For the third week in a row the boys went behind early, conceding three goals in a manic five minute period. Outside of this, Hakoah looked the better team for much of the game. However to win you need to play for the full sixty minutes, and those five minutes early in the game cost Hakoah dearly.
Hakoah managed possession well in the first few minutes, but couldn't link to the forwards. Rockdale showed how this was done with a smart move in the sixth minute, an angled ball into the penalty area received by their centre forward, who turned his man sharply and fired a shot past keeper Noah Feilich. Hakoah responded well, launching an attack but Matty Shapiro's shot went wide. Rockdale then almost put the game out of reach with two perfectly executed counter attacks. Both came from Hakoah attacks that were repelled, both resulted in Rockdale hitting the ball long to their tall, physical centre forward. Both times he managed to get to the ball just inside the penalty area before the Hakoah defence could intercept, with the result being that after eleven minutes Rockdale led 3-0. While Rockdale's tactics were basic, they were highly effective - three chances, three goals. 
Hakoah were rattled being so far behind so early, several heads dropped and critical comments sounded across the field. Gradually, though, they brought themselves back into the game. For the remainder of the first half the boys maintained the majority of possession and managed a few shots on goal but they didn't really trouble the Rockdale keeper. Rockdale on the other hand seemed content to sit on their lead with their continued tactic being to hit the ball long.
A team huddle at the beginning of the second half seemed to galvanise Hakoah, and they proceeded to dominate the second half with a controlled, skilful performance. Midfielders Alexander Robertson and Adam Strasser teased and probed the Rockdale defence, spreading the play and using the width of the pitch. Forward Jared Kleviansky, always a willing runner, held the ball up well and linked with captain Zac Sapsford, another player who never stopped trying. Wingback Ethan De Melo played with real urgency, his exquisite footwork taking him past would be defenders. In the forty-seventh minute another mazy run brought a corner. From the ensuing play Adam was pushed over in the box and the referee whistled for a penalty. 
Alexander doesn't miss opportunities like these, and he scored, giving Hakoah a glimmer of hope. Jawad Karnib then had two excellent chances, a first time shot driven just wide and a powerful header that unfortunately was straight at the keeper, a metre or so either side and it would have been a goal. 
With five minutes left Hakoah's dominance resulted in a deserved goal. Tim Scott had moved to right back, and together with the redoubtable Ben Katz created havoc down the right flank. On another foray deep into opposition territory Tim crossed into the penalty area, the ball was cleared but only to Alexander, who drove a hard shot first time into the bottom corner. 3-2 down and five minutes left, Hakoah were in the ascendency and Rockdale were barely hanging on, making no pretence to play, just trying to keep the ball as far away from their goal as possible. 
Still Hakoah came at Rockdale, trying for the equaliser. With two minutes left they nearly had it, Zac agonisingly close as he slid into the six yard box, a deflected cross just evading his outstretched boot. That was as close as Hakoah got, a disappointing 3-2 loss being a case of what might have been. The boys can be pleased with their second half effort, but ultimately will come to rue five minutes which cost them the game. As Alexander Robertson Snr told the boys after the game, "this is a different type of football, you can't play for what will happen in five minutes or ten minutes time, you have to play for what is happening right now." A hard lesson to learn, all the more disappointing because it's not the first time this season that they've faced a direct, energetic opponent.
However, the entire squad can be very proud of all they have achieved this season - second in the division, Kanga Cup winners and on their day they have been a joy to watch. Thank you to the brains trust, Mark and Peter for coaching our boys, and Darren for his faultless organising. Here's to next season!


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