Xavier College’s final round robin match took on increased importance due to SICA holding XC to a draw on the first day of competition. XC needed to secure at least a draw in order to ensure the team’s passage to the final or we exposed ourselves to potential failure to qualify for the final for the first time since 2006.
The match was a very lethargic affair with XC in particular looking tired, having played three games in two days already, whereas SAC were only playing their third game. Xavier College’s fatigue played out in excruciating fashion as the team was unable to muster even a single shot on goal in the first half of the match. SAC looked the spritelier team and they did manage two shots off line and forced Ben Luff to make at least one good save in the first half. Unfortunately an error at the back with a mistimed leap from Captain Seb Lock in the 13th minute of the match led to the awarding of a penalty to SAC. Their #9 stepped up to take the penalty as Ben Luff guessed incorrectly and SAC found themselves in the lead early. Shortly afterwards, Seb Lock was involved in a head clash with a SAC player and he was forced off the pitch and Marius Sorace took the reins of captaincy.
With little action to comment upon in the remainder of the first half, the second half seemed to spring into action with much more energy being displayed by both teams. Early in the second half, Oscar Bertelle launched the ball forward from a free kick on half way and Fabio Sacchetta looped up and glanced the ball beautifully past the SAC goalkeeper and the score was levelled in the 42nd minute of the match. The team was now creating chances and Nicky Edwards had an excellent opportunity to win the game, but he was unable to beat the SAC goalkeeper. Marius Sorace also playing well, was able to let loose to great strikes on goal, but they were both saved by the SAC goalkeeper. It was indeed SAC that had the best opportunities to win the game late on with Ben Luff able to pull off a superb double save in the 59th minute of the match, holding SAC at bay and saving the game. There was a degree of controversy late in the game, with the final kick of the game being taken on a SAC break that was loosened after the final whistle that barely brushed past the XC goal. The match finished 1-1, enough for the team to progress as top qualifiers for the final, but it was a difficult match and XC must be better against St. Ignatius’ College, Adelaide in the final tomorrow.