RAA NPL SA 2024: The winners and losers from Round 5

Throughout the 2024 RAA NPL SA season, Front Page Football  looks at each week's big winners and losers from the action-packed South Australian top flight. Below are our picks from Round 5.

Front Page Football: Bradley Corbo Nicholas Bucco Adelaide Croatia Raiders Adelaide City NPL SA 2024
Bradley Corbo (left) and Nicholas Bucco (right) reacquainted as Adelaide Croatia Raiders hosted Adelaide City in Round 5. (Image: Pagonis Photography)


Beograd break another long-standing streak

The big winners of Round 4 were FK Beograd, who defeated Adelaide City for the first time since 2014. However, entering Round 5, another decade-long demon stood in their way in the shape of the Adelaide Comets, a team that Beograd have not managed to defeat in a league game since 2013.

To make matters worse, the Comets entered the encounter having won each of their four games while only conceding one goal. A solid first half for Beograd ended in a seemingly fatal fashion when Michael Jakobsen received a red card minutes before the two teams went into halftime scoreless.

The Comets entered the second half ready to capitalise on their numerical advantage. Yet, five minutes after the restart, a well-worked team move ended with Antoni Trimboli opening the scoring for the undermanned home side.

The away side fought back but a solid team effort and some outstanding goalkeeping from Josh Kavenagh ensured that FK Beograd secured their first league win over the Adelaide Comets since March 2013!

Metro dominate a star-studded yet constantly revolving Adelaide United

MetroStars were left frustrated in Round 4 after failing to make the most of their man advantage against the Modbury Jets. Thursday night football pitted Danny Graystone's side against Adelaide United, which fielded A-League Men players such as Jonny Yull, Panashe Madanha, Yaya Dukuly, and Jay Barnett.

Despite the Young Reds' undoubted ability, the MetroStars have proven time and time again that they can compete and win against that quality. A clumsy challenge in the box by Madanha on Ren Nagamatsu allowed the Metro striker to open the scoring from the penalty spot early on before Adelaide United's fortunes got worse. Minutes after Nagamatsu opened the scoring, Barnett was substituted due to an injury.

Michael Cittadini emphatically doubled his side's lead heading into halftime. The MetroStars rose in confidence as the match went on, with Hamish Gow assisting Nagamatsu to his brace before the midfielder wrong-footed Oscar Page in goal from a free-kick, rounding off the scoring.

Despite the quality available to the Young Reds, manager Airton Andrioli is hamstrung by the directive of having to play A-League Men players who need competitive minutes. This problem unsettles the lineup at this time of year and is exacerbated when taking on a well-drilled side like the MetroStars.

Panthers impress away from home

South Adelaide could be forgiven for having felt hard done by after a 4-3 loss against Adelaide Croatia off the back of a couple of contentious calls. Anthony Rideout's side could not afford to think of the previous week as they visited Newton to take on Campbelltown City.

Despite a difficult fortnight to open the season, the Panthers have since shown they will not be easybeats. Their newly-found grit was present in Round 5, with Jonathon Rideout shocking the fancied hosts by opening the scoring. Supported by his backline, Jude Yeomans, replacing the suspended Lewis Moss in goal, kept out the Red Devils heading into halftime.

The Panthers got another boost when James Boffa was given his marching orders for a shirt pull as the last man. The visitors could not find a second and left the door open for Campbelltown, which rarely ends well. Josh Barresi spared the home side's blushes with a late header to claim a point out of the awkward situation the hosts played themselves into.

South Adelaide may have left the match disappointed not to have claimed all three points, but the fact that they may view it as two points dropped instead of one point claimed is a testament to a spirited away performance.
Front Page Football: South Adelaide Panthers NPL SA 2024
South Adelaide were only minutes from taking all three points away from home against Campbelltown City. (Image: Ken Carter)



Adelaide City again haunted by a former player

In Round 4, Adelaide City fell to a late defeat at the hands of FK Beograd, courtesy of a goal from former player Jason Konstandopoulos. Taking on the Adelaide Croatia Raiders in Round 5, the likelihood of something similar happening was much lower, with both Jai King and Anthony Costa missing the first encounter of the season against their old side.

The Raiders line-up still included two players who wore City's black and white in 2023. Bradley Corbo helped keep the home side's backline solid throughout the match. Katsuyoshi Kimishima showed his former side what they are missing out on, remaining a handful for his ex-teammates in the 80 minutes he played.

Within a minute of the second half restart, Kimishima played a defence-splitting ball to Paul Radice, disarming the City defence and allowing Radice to find Frank Busasa, who opened the scoring. In injury time, a mistake by Dakota Ochsenham saw Croatia double their lead through Oliver Trimboli.

This result did not just mean Adelaide City fell to another loss, but that Paul Pezos' side went a second game scoreless, while former players played a key role in their downfall.
Front Page Football: Katsuyoshi Kimishima Adelaide Croatia Raiders NPL SA 2024
Katsuyoshi Kimishima (right) was one of Adelaide Croatia's standout players against his former side, Adelaide City. (Image: Pagonis Photography)

Olympic's first half misfortune leads to more dropped points

Saturday was not Adelaide Olympic's day and it showed right from the start. Five minutes into their clash against the Modbury Jets, Olympic were already on the back foot, with Alessio Benvenuto unable to continue and needing to be substituted.

Within 10 minutes, Hamish McCabe opened the scoring for the Jets. Shortly after the half-hour mark, Tzoi Tsarkani's rough challenge on Jordan O'Doherty meant that Olympic's woes on the scoreboard were compounded by going a man down. Despite the many difficulties, Olympic arrived at the break without further damage on the scoreboard.

But just 10 minutes into the second half, McCabe turned provider, allowing Francesco Schimizzi to double his side's lead with a tidy finish. Shortly after, the Jets caught the undermanned Olympic on the counter, and Liam McCabe joined his brother on the scoresheet to make it three for the hosts. Mamadi Kamara recorded a late consolation for Olympic, who will enter Round 6 trying to find only their second win of the season.

Knights collapse after red card

Para Hills Knights and Croydon FC played out a competitive first half in Round 5, with the away side arguably producing the better chances. The dynamics of the match completely changed in the 40th minute when Knights captain Diego Oliveira was sent off after his elbow connected with Tomas Greco's face in a midfield tussle.

A minute after the red card, Andre Carle was found at the back post from a corner to score for the fifth consecutive league game, giving the visitors the lead heading into halftime. Shortly after the break, Jaiden Diamantis applied pressure on Knights goalkeeper Yanni Delangas, who turned the ball over in a dangerous area, allowing Roger Djuma to punish the hosts and double Croydon's lead.

A moment of individual brilliance in the box saw Meiya Hisamoto make it three in the 80th minute before Isaac Matikulas put the cherry on top of a comprehensive win in the 85th minute. Both sides face tough battles in Round 6, with Para Hills taking on the in-form FK Beograd while Croydon go up against the MetroStars.