Another cool evening kick off at Phuoc Long’s artificial pitch saw a much changed starting line up in defence. In for the illusive yet supremely talented Elawadi came ‘big’ Dave Laumann – a formidable presence for any wafer-thin Vietnamese striker. Dan ‘COYS’ Walker stepped in to the centre as well, in doing so making sure Angel Perez was not too near the penalty area.
Perez’s promise of no bookings in 2011 seemed to have been forgotten as he picked up a yellow in the first few minutes of the game, safe to say preventing a Star burst (get it?) down the right hand side.
Around ten minutes into the game Raiders won a corner which HOFF whipped in to the near post with his venomous left foot (I love writing these reports myself) where LOEFFLER rose like a salmon to glance the ball home.
It was not ten minutes later that Raiders received a free kick on the right side in front of the Star box. A poorly set wall allowed HOFF to steer the free kick low into the net to the right of the keeper. 2-0 and Raiders were dominating. MAHNKE and GREEVE were causing all kinds of problems in the attacking areas and it was after another one of these attacking moves where the ball fell to GREEVE just inside the box and he smashed it home into the top of the net. 3-0 Raiders.
Late into the half Hoff conceded a freekick on the wing, the resulting cross somehow threaded through to the back post and nodded home. 3-1 at half time. Memories of the previous week may have been haunting, but this week Raiders were not to give away their lead. Keeping two very disciplined lines in defence and across the middle Star had very little opportunity, their creative players only able to pass the ball around in their own half and look for speculative long balls over the top which Dan, David, Brian, Miquel and Luke all dealt with comfortably. It wasn’t long before Raiders extended their lead with a stunning strike from KOTZE. A midfield mix up by Star allowed the incoming South African to latch onto the ball and unleash an unstoppable shot from 30 yards which sailed into the net to the goalkeepers right. Soon after Raiders added a fifth, after great work again by KOTZE down the right, BUSIAN may have scored at the far post but the ball ended up with GREEVE who punched home for his second, and celebrated with a gigantic pelvic thrust.
At this point Raiders were cruising and soaking up the Star pressure, whose continued probing eventually allowing one mistake from the Raiders to see them pull a goal back, but it was too little too late. KOTZE struck the crossbar, WALTON nearly struck, and BUSIAN almost lobbed the keeper to add what would have been a not undeserved sixth goal. All in all an extraordinarily solid Raiders performance and three well earned points.
A little stat, Raiders have now scored 15 goals in their last three league games.