NSL upsets leave finals open - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NSL upsets leave finals open

By Glenn Cullen 23/03/2003 10:22:08 PM Comments (0)

Two upsets have kept the national soccer league finals series simmering after things had threatened to go lukewarm just one round in.

The jury is still well and truly out on the controversial 10-round format and grand final but Parramatta's come-from-behind win over Newcastle and Adelaide's upset victory against reigning premiers the Olympic Sharks have kept the competition cooking - at least for the time being.

A Sharks victory coupled with Perth Glory's Saturday night 5-0 blowout against Northern Spirit would be the worst possible scenario for Soccer Australia who are desperately hoping the competition does not become a two horse race within a few rounds.

But Olympic showed little of the touch that earned them a 3-0 home victory against City in the last round of the competition, former Socceroo Goran Lozanovski putting the defending champions to the sword with his angled 73rd minute goal.

The 1-0 loss left the Sharks, who earned six bonus points for finishing as regular season premiers, second on differential to the Glory who scored three extra points for coming second.

Perth had bounced back following the shock final round defeat to Marconi which had cost the West Australians the premiership title.

Striker Bobby Despotovski stepped up to the plate in the absence of suspended striker Damian Mori, scoring four goals in the comprehensive win.

The result sets the scene for an intriguing clash against the Power at Parramatta Stadium next Sunday after the finals debutantes wore down Newcastle United 2-1 at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Sunday.

Touched up 3-0 and 4-1 by United this year the Power responded when it mattered most, a 72nd minute header to Paul O'Grady and an 89th minute strike to replacement Peter Zorbas giving them three points in game one.

Power coach Nick Theodorakopoulos revealed just how seriously he was taking the competition after the win, revealing he'd flown to Perth on Saturday to watch the Glory play Northern Spirit, only arriving back in Sydney on Sunday morning.

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