Loss leaves United 58 in race to make finals

On the ball: United 58 striker Panny Nikas was a constant threat for the Sydney Olympic defence. Picture: Football NSW
On the ball: United 58 striker Panny Nikas was a constant threat for the Sydney Olympic defence. Picture: Football NSW

Last year’s premiers Sydney United 58 FC need to win their final two games to have any hope of making the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 finals after their 2-1 loss to Sydney Olympic on Sunday blew the finals race wide open.

Remarkably the Reds (33 points) now sit in seventh place behind Wollongong (33 points) on points differential and Olympic (34 points) who jumped them to sit in fifth place.

This Sunday they face a much-win clash against fourth place Manly (36 points).  Such is the closeness of the competition, a United 58 win and losses for Wollongong  and Olympic would see them jump into fourth place ahead of their final round match against league leaders Blacktown.

United missed their chance to cement their spot in the top five with Yu Kuboki’s late winner sealing all three points for Olympic after Chris Payne cancelled out Christopher Gligor’s earlier goal.

The loss was compounded by the Wolves defeating the Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2-1 at Bonnyrigg Sports Club on Saturday night.

Substitute Asmir Kadric gave the home team a glimmer of hope with a late goal but the visitors held on to move into the top five for the first time since the opening weeks of the season.

“It was typical of the whole season for us,” Bonnyrigg coach Brian Brown said.

“I thought we played well but were just lacking in that final third.

“I can’t fault the effort of the boys.”

Meanwhile the football world is in mourning after veteran broadcaster Les Murray died after a long illness. He was 71.

Murray arrived in Australia as a refugee from Hungary in 1957 and developed a passion for soccer while growing up in Wollongong.

He became a journalist in 1971 and was the "face of soccer" at SBS for decades where he shared his enjoyment of the world game.

Murray was present at the outset of the National Soccer League and hosted several World Cup broadcasts as the sport transitioned to the A-League era.He was inducted into the Football Federation Australia Hall of Fame in 2003, before retiring in 2014.

His contribution to the sport was remembered by many on social media on Monday. Fairfax Media football reporter Dominic Bossi described Murray as a champion of cultural cohesion.

“One of the most important things about him is the way he supported multiculturalism in Australia,” he said.

“He was also very passionate about Indigenous players in sport.”

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has called for a state funeral for Murray.

  • Saturday: Sydney FC v Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Lambert Park, 7.45pm, Sunday: Sydney United 58 FC v Manly United, Cromer Park, 3pm.