Araujo brace secures Blacktown City’s first victory
Daniel Araujo’s brace has helped Blacktown City notch their first PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition win of 2017 with a gritty 2-1 victory against Sutherland Sharks.
The former Sydney FC man struck shortly before the interval at Lily’s Football Stadium, and then again fifteen minutes before full-time, to claim the three points for the reigning champions who overpowered Sutherland in a dominant second-half.
Although Carlos Villazon’s side forced an excellent equaliser through Tomihiro Kajyiama, Blacktown’s failure to capitalise on a number of its chances held back the home side.
Sharks goalkeeper Nathan Denham was in fine form with a string of fine saves to hold City at bay.
Instead, Sutherland were made to pay for allowing Araujo, who had earlier opened the scoring by hammering home a loose ball in the area, to drift into the penalty box unmarked late in the second half and guide Danny Choi’s cross into the ground and over Denham for the winner.
It was a strike that capped an entertaining second half from Blacktown City following a turgid opening forty-five minutes in which chances were at a premium for both sides.
Araujo would signal his goal scoring intent early on when he forced Denham into a strong reflex save from a Blacktown corner. Mitchell Mallia had a near miss of his own when he was denied a spectacular solo goal by the foot of the post.
Sutherland had defended admirably in the first half but their resistance was broken on the stroke of half-time when Araujo tucked away a rebounded effort from James Andrew.
A succession of early chances in the second half followed for Blacktown with Joey Gibbs flicking a header wide and Araujo hooking a close-range effort over the bar.
It looked like City would rue their failure to capitalise when Sutherland restored parity through the brilliance of their Japanese attacker. Jack Press was comfortably marshalled by Blacktown City defence for most of the night but the spritely attacker did well to hold off challenges on the edge of the area before the ball arrived to Kajiyama who lashed a powerful strike across Prendergast.
Another superb save from Denham prevented Shayne D’Cunha from his second goal in as many weeks as Blacktown pressed for a winner. But the Sutherland custodian could do nothing about Araujo’s second after the midfielder’s driven volley looped over Denham and into the back of the net.
The hosts had further opportunities to find a match-sealing third with Denham once again called into the fold to deny Choi and Mallia, while Tristan Prendergast had to push Nicholas Littler’s free-kick past the post in the dying seconds in a rare moment of concern for the Blacktown goalkeeper.
Blacktown City coach Mark Crittenden praised his side’s second-half exploits after the match:
“I thought we were really good tonight,” he said.
“We had so many chances to kill the game off and their goalkeeper was excellent.
“I’m really pleased with the intensity of the second half and if we can improve off our decision marking in the final third we’re going to be hard to stop.”
Blacktown City 2 (Araujo 41’, 76’)
Sutherland Sharks 1 (Kajiyama 61’)
Saturday 18th March 2017, Lilys Football Centre
Blacktown City: 1. Tristan Prendergast, 3. Giorgio Speranza, 4. Roberto Speranza, 12. James Andrew (11. Danny Choi 64’), 8. Daniel Araujo, 19. Zachary Cairncross, 15. Shayne D’Cunha, 10. Connor Evans (21. Bo Hyun Chun 79’), 9. Joey Gibbs, 6. Matthew Lewis, 14. Mitchell Mallia (17. Lewis Beumie 86’)
Substitutes Not Use 20. Matthew Symes
Yellow Cards: 8. Daniel Araujo 83’, 3. Giorgio Speranza 90’
Red Cards: N/A
Sutherland Sharks: 1. Nathan Denham, 10. Joshua Da Silva (19. Callum Fitzpatrick 62’, 11. Nathan Elasi, 6. Matthew Gordon, 9. Tomohiro Kajiyama, 4. Stephen Kayes (15. Kevin Lopes 81’), 5. Nicholas Littler, 25. Wade Oosterndorp, 7. Jack Press, 12. Blair Brown (8. Christopher Mcstay 62’)
Substitutes Not Used: 21. Nikolas Loe, 30. Lachlan Everett
Yellow Cards: 5. Nicholas Littler 88’, 6. Matthew Gordon 73’, 9. Tomohiro Kajiyama 90’
Red Cards: N/A
3 – Daniel Araujo (BCFC)
2 - Nathan Denham (SS)
1 – Mitchell Mallia (BCFC)
-By Football NSW reporter Jacob Windon