It was the sort of comeback that dreams are made of – and for South Melbourne FC – it’s a match that will go down in footballing history almost unrivalled.
In a game for the ages last Wednesday night, the victorious South rose from the dead to claim a 5-4 victory over Dandenong City in the FFA Cup.
But they just simply shouldn’t have won – but they did.
With less than ten minutes of regular time on the clock, the second-tier City led 4-1, in what was a truly stunning performance against a team that could be playing in the A-League. City’s stars – Ljubo Milicevic – the former Socceroo, Nick Kalmar and Damir Salcin had complete control over the contest, as a major boil over went from a distant possibility to a genuine reality.
But in the 82nd minute a penalty to the South triggered an almighty collapse – with star striker Milos Lujic netting a goal to make the score 4-2.
Ten minutes later, the South had scored another three goals – including the sealer from the hat-trick man Lujic from a penalty in the 96th minute, to famously send the crowd into raptures.
The game has made national headlines, appearing on breakfast shows and newspapers around the country.
“The boys just didn’t give up until the very end – when we were 4-1 down, we got that one goal and we sort of just felt it was a really good feel around the ground,” Milos Lujic said post-match.
“We just knew we could come back and give it a crack to be honest – the fans deserved it and we didn’t want to go out like that, and luckily for us it paid off and we ended up winning.”
The comeback victory is the greatest in a rich history for the South, who have made a name for themselves as one of the most successful clubs in Australia.
The win was reminiscent of famous victories in 1980 against Middle Park, when the South came from 0-3 down to win 4-3 – 1986 against Preston when they trailed 1-3 and won 4-3, and in 1990 when they stormed home from 1-3 to win 4-3 against Sunshine. As for the City, they will now always wonder what could have been, but can hold their heads high.
They will now return to the NPL 2 East ranks top of the table, with the season starting to heat up.
The City travels to Kevin Bartlett Reserve to face Richmond SC, who are sitting second last on the table heading into a crucial Round 17.