Geelong Rangers continued its march to the finals of the Goforyourlife Cup with a two-one win over North Geelong at Myers Reserve on Friday night. North introduced a number of senior players, while Rangers stuck to the players who have got it through the opening two games, with the addition of Drew Corry. Both sides lost players early in the game. Bojan Msljenovic limped off with a leg injury and James Blackburn had to retire after a head clash in the tightly contested first half. Rangers took the lead in the 39th minute after Drew Corry muscled his way past Michael Radojevic out on the right and his cross was headed on by Troy Hardy for substitute Alister Scott who grabbed his third goal in as many games. Just over a minute later Joanthan Ryan’s deep cross was headed home by David Ellis. North scored its first goal of the 2009 competition when Matthew Demo fired past Lyndon Malesic, but North could not add to its tally and Rangers were deserved winners.
In the early game, Bell Park held Corio scoreless until the 26th minute when Pero Prodanovic’s pass was picked up by Nenad Joldzic who had time to turn and slot the ball past Joe Fiala. Both sides made and missed chances and Park came closest when youngster Liam Page shaved the upright in 56 minutes. Eight minutes later Joldzic seized on a loose ball and made a run at the Park defence. As it retreated he kept going and finished with a fierce shot which gave Fiala no chance.
On Sunday, Surfcoast made sure of a semi-final spot after a three-nil win over Hoppers Crossing. It took half an hour of a see-sawing game before Ry Hernan got the break through with a powerful shot into the corner of the net. Two late goals by youngster Jack Taylor saw the Coasters home. Taylor is a real talent, but his impetuous and clumsy tackling earned him a yellow card and is something he will have to curb if he is to make progress in the game.
Geelong needed a three-goal or better margin against the Geelong Regional Football Association to turf Bell Park out of second spot in Group A. Andrew Longo’s shot from outside the area gave it a sniff off a result in 30 minutes, but when Nathan Talbot’s persistence resulted in an equaliser for the GRFA in 40 minutes, that target seemed far away. The match turned on a penalty six minutes later converted by Andrew Longo. Cedo Rakic crossed for Zoran Rstevski to make it 3–1, but in doing so Rstevski pulled a muscle and had to limp off. Geelong refused to give up and Chris Balaburova powered home a free kick with only eight minutes to go to give Geelong the outcome it wanted.
In the semi-finals next week, Geelong will face favourite and host club Geelong Rangers, while Corio will take on Surfcoast.