INTERNATIONAL has booked a rematch against Gambeir Centrals in this weekend’s Limestone Coast soccer grand final, after defeating Blue Lake 4-1 at Naracoorte in the preliminary final on Sunday.
The black and blue suffered their first loss in two seasons against Centrals in the qualifying final last week and the minor premiers went into Sunday’s clash with a point to prove.
And they did just that, with a two-nil lead at half time extended to an eventual three-goal victory.
Star striker Matt Bueti banged through all four goals for Inter and will carry extra confidence into this week’s grand final.
However, it did not all go Inter’s way, with Blue Lake threatening early in the first term and later in the game.
With coach Gareth Vonduve unable to make the trip to Naracoorte, Travis McDonald again stepped up to the head role.
He said the Rangers pressured in the opening minutes of the game and gave credit to his team for holding them at bay and retaliating.
“It was not an easy win, but it was a good win,” McDonald said.
“We started off pretty well in the first couple of minutes.
“It was pretty fast and hectic, but then they (Blue Lake) went down and Brayden May pulled off a great double save.
“And then Patrick Wilondja cleared one off the line.
“That was within the first 10 minutes.
“It could have changed the game, they could have easily been one-nil up after that.”
After that Inter took back some control and was able to carry a two-goal buffer into the break.
“I said to the boys let’s try and get one early in the second half and we should be right from there,” McDonald said.
“We scored within the first five minutes of the second half which was great.
“Then I thought we had it pretty well under control.”
Blue Lake hit back a few times, especially in the final 10 minutes of play, where a few minor injury concerns saw Inter rest players and bring on its juniors, along with a shuffle of other field positions.
That saw the Rangers chip one back, but it was too little, too late and Inter claimed the 4-1 win and the respective grand final berth.
McDonald gave credit to Blue Lake, as it put up a strong contest and has shown it deserved to be in the fight for a place in the decider.
“To Blue Lake’s credit they are a good side,” he said.
“I said to Vausey (Jared Vause) after the game, I hope he can keep them all together because they are fairly young and will be a good side in a couple of years.”
He said it is a similar story for Apollo, who fielded a young squad in A Grade this year, but will be well up there again in the next couple of seasons.
In regards to the best players on the day, McDonald could not look past the efforts of Bueti, as he scored all four goals for his team.
He also gave credit to his captain, who stepped up after a quiet game against Centrals the week before.
“Christian Cella, after having by his own admission not a very good week last week, had a great game,” he said.
“MJ (Sar Hay Moo) out on the wing was also really really good.
“We were generally pretty good across the board.
“The backline was very good, led by Dan Bronca, they held it together really well.
“And Brayden May was really good in goals.”
Inter will now look forward to its anticipated grand final clash with Centrals at Casadio Park, which is expected to be another heated and tight-fought battle between the league heavyweights.
“It is good to be able to have another crack at Centrals, obviously after the disappointment of last week,” McDonald said.
“I think at the end of the day the two best sides in the competition have made the grand final.
“It should be very interesting.
“They should be at full fitness and we should be as well.
“I am looking forward to it, especially on our home deck.”