A stunning solo effort from Daisuke Yuzawa helped Wollongong United seal back-to-back Fraternity Cup triumphs in a 1-0 win over Corrimal Rangers at Memorial Park on Easter Monday.
The Japanese star scored a goal worthy of winning any game when he made a sensational run down the right flank before unleashing a curling left foot shot into the bottom corner.
The moment of magic came just seventeen minutes into the match, but was enough to give United the first piece of silverware of the campaign.
It allowed United to defend the title they claimed last season when they beat Illawarra Premier League heavyweights Kemblawarra Fury.
“The boys have achieved their first goal taking out the preseason cup so credit to our boys,” United coach Oliver Vrtkovski said.
“They played really hard. They worked really hard, under tough circumstances where every time they got the ball, they tried to turn us around.
“You are going a lot of metres doing that.
“Credit to our boys who were terrific today. Our Japanese boys [Daisuke Yuzawa and Taka Noji] ran them ragged and they were outstanding.”
United were in control for the majority of the 90 minutes, but struggled to kill the game off after scoring their early goal.
They held their 1-0 advantage at half time before Rangers emerged a more potent attacking force after the change of ends.
However, Corrimal struggled to fashion many major chances against a United side marshalled superbly by skipper Brendan Reilly.
United came closest to adding to the scoresheet when substitute Zac McLaren cannoned his header off the post in the 70th minute.
It mattered little as Yuzawa’s super first half goal proved enough for United to capture the first piece of silverware of the campaign.
I think it was one of those games that could of gone either way but with our chances I thought we did deserve the win,” Vrtkovski said.
“We should have had three or four today.
“In the first half we were the only team trying to play football and again, and as I said the other day, they were just going to sit off us and try to play long to get us on the counter attack.
“It can work but against some teams but we were prepared for it.
“The boys did to grind out a 1-0 win.”
Rangers assistant Gavin O’Brien, who was standing in for head coach John Fleming, felt his side gave a good account of themselves in the rescheduled decider.
“We made the final because we fought to make it, not because we had a lucky ticket and today I think we earned the right to be here, but unfortunately there was one really good goal,” he said.
“Other than that I thought it was a good tussle.”
Earlier in the day, Fernhill Foxes outlasted Coniston to win the District League Cup final.
Andrew Breslin scored the match’s only goal in the eighth minute when he unleashed a sensational half volley. Corrimal won the under-18s final