The 2012 season opened last weekend for both Sydney Rangers football (soccer) teams with mixed results.
The B division’s game started with a baptism of fire, as the Rangers were down 2-0 within 20 minutes after well worked goals from the Balmain opposition. Changes to the line-up were made and team member Billy immediately scored the Rangers’ first goal of the new season.
With increasing confidence, the Rangers pushed on for the next 25 minutes looking for the equaliser, which never quite came.
The Rangers continued to push in the second half but opportunities for both teams were fewer as the unseasonably warm weather took its toll. Just before the final whistle, Balmain scored a third goal from a corner, finishing the game at 3-1.
The loss was still a very positive performance, with great performances from new players Erwin, Matty, James and man of the match Kevin.
The Rangers A division had a more positive outcome against old foes Burwood Soccer Club at Blair Park on Saturday. With scores locked at 1-1 at half-time, Captain Koji Niikura smashed a ferocious goalbound shot from the edge of the box but the Burwood keeper pulled off an amazing save to deny him.
Riki Inamura worked tirelessly in the defensive midfield role, thwarting Burwood at every opportunity to earn himself a man of the match winning performance.
With 10 minutes to go, some intricate passing and wonderful movement off the ball saw Akio Matsui send a lofted shot over the Burwood keeper’s head and into the goal to take a 2-1 lead.
As the clock ticked down, Rangers A looked the more assured team, finally delivering a 2-1 win against Burwood.
“For the first game of the season against last year’s grand final winners I couldn’t ask for a better response from my players,” coach Joseph Roppolo said.
“They showed the true Rangers spirit by coming back from a goal down on a sizzling day when it was probably easier to put their heads down.
“Thank you to two players in particular: firstly to Bruce Nagle who got up at 2am to drive seven hours from Tamworth so he could help out the team. Also, to Felipe Cruz who played up from Rangers B and was strong in the tackle all day.”
Rangers A take on Canterbury at Croydon Park on Saturday, April 14, 1.15pm.