Lee Gaskin August 20, 2012
Canberra Olympic's Robbie Schroder, right, gets the ball away from Belconnen United's Elliot Zwangobani. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Canberra Olympic showed it can't be discounted in the race for the ACT Premier League title despite going down to league champion Belconnen United.
David Kemp's sixth-minute header was enough for the Blue Devils to rack up their 15th win of the campaign, accounting for a 10-man Olympic 1-0 in a fiery contest at O'Connor Enclosed yesterday.
Olympic's Travis Dries was sent off for his second yellow card in injury time, while referee Ben Wilson was kept busy writing names in the book in a game with no finals implications.
Woden Valley's loss to Tuggeranong on Saturday stamped Olympic's ticket in the top four and the Blue Devils wrapped up top spot last week.
Olympic will finish either third or fourth, setting up an elimination semi-final with reigning champion Canberra FC in a fortnight to determine who goes on to face the loser of Belconnen United and Cooma Tigers.
Blue Devils coach Steve Forshaw has seen enough from Olympic to know it could be a tricky opponent.
''They showed enough today with a few players missing that they'll be a force to be reckoned with in the semi-finals,'' he said.
''We're the team to catch, but there are teams not that far behind.
''They've got some battling qualities when the chips are down and that'll take them a long way.''
Olympic had the best chances of an enthralling second half, with none better than when a powerful shot from exciting talent Hristijan Tanoski richocheted off the left post and somehow didn't cross the goal line.
While pleased with his team's effort, Olympic coach Leo Exarhos knows the result will count for nothing unless it can back it up when it counts.
''I don't think you can take much from it looking to the finals,'' he said.
''There's always a bit of passion with these two clubs.
''At least our boys know they can mix it up with the best.''
Forshaw plans to rest Elliot Zwangobani and Cameron Reinhart from next week's final-round match to prevent them picking up a fourth yellow card for the season, which would result in a one-week suspension, while Exarhos foreshadowed a similar tactic to give several younger players a game.
ACT Premier League: Belconnen United 1 (D Kemp) bt Canberra Olympic 0 at O'Connor Enclosed. Cooma Tigers 0 drew Canberra FC 0 at Nijong Oval. Canberra City 3 (P Ross-Magee 2, S McDonald) bt Monaro Panthers 0 at Hawker.