GOLD Coast United’s two-game series against the New Caledonian national team will be decided this Saturday after the two sides played out a goalless draw at Merrimac Soccer Club last night (Wednesday 17 August).
GOLD Coast United-s two-game series against the New Caledonian national team will be decided this Saturday after the two sides played out a goalless draw at Merrimac Soccer Club last night (Wednesday 17 August).
The feisty encounter could have swung either way with Adama Traore and Aman Hadid going close for United and Glen Moss doing well to deny Georges Gope Fenepej on two occasions during the second period.
It was midfielder Robson who perhaps came closest to breaking the deadlock just after the hour mark though when his 25-metre drive rattled the New Caledonian crossbar before bouncing to safety. Good work from the busy Chris Harold helped engineer the chance in a match where genuine goalscoring opportunities were few and far between.
United enjoyed the bulk of the possession, but the visitors- determination to get men behind the ball clogged the attacking third and took the sting out of Gold Coast-s attacks.
With space hard to find, Miron Bleiberg-s men couldn-t fashion a way to goal, leaving the destiny of the Queensland Nickel Cup up in the air until Saturday-s encounter.
After the match, United-s Head Coach said his side will have to improve if they are to get their hands on the pre-season trophy.
“To tell you the truth if you-d asked me before the game, I-d have said nothing but a win. At the end of the game I was happy with a draw. We have a rematch on Saturday and we shall see what happens; we have to improve a lot,” he said.
“A few of our guys did well, a few of the younger boys did well and a few were disappointing. On Friday and we will work on what we need to work on. Overall we are still three or four players short of our ideal line-up, but I wasn-t happy.
“There was no cutting edge in the first half. Second half we started well and we were a bit more dangerous, but then we started to get a bit tired and in the end I was happy with nil-nil.”
Bleiberg did reserve words of praise for Dutch duo Paul Beekmans and Peter Jungschlager, who along with Moss and Traore were United-s best on the night, but he knows his side have to learn to break down visiting sides when they park a defensive bus in front of goal.
“They played a defensive block. The moment they lost the ball there was eleven in their half, so it made it hard for us but that-s part of the game. They defended well and we didn-t succeed in breaking their defence,” he said.
“So far every game we-ve played (in the pre-season) we have taken control and dominated and did whatever we wanted to do, then all of a sudden we come up against a team that was on the day as strong as we are and it wasn-t easy.
“But it is pre-season and the reason we play these games is to find out what we need to work on. There is still plenty of time to get everything right,” he added.
The second and final match in the series will take place this Saturday (20 Aug) at Merrimac Soccer Club. Kick off is at 3.00pm.