VPL 2 Men Match Report: Ryo Okamoto propels Box Hill United to 2-1 win

A late match winner from Ryo Okamoto helped Box Hill United to a 2-1 victory against Pascoe Vale at CB Smith Reserve on Friday night.

The match kicked off with intense physical battles, setting the scene for standout performances, including Oscar Brooks for his first start of the season. The energy on the field was palpable from the first whistle, with both teams showcasing their determination to dominate.

Brooks was a welcome addition to the line up.

Luke Del Vecchio was a standout, making four sensational and crucial saves throughout the night. In the first half, he found himself far from his goal, facing an unexpected shot. Yet, he quickly adjusted, catching the ball firmly. His subsequent saves were equally impressive, displaying calm and composed defence even during chaotic scrambles in the penalty area.

Though these saves were pivotal, they would not surprise fans, as Del Vecchio has long been recognised as an indispensable player for Box Hill United. His agility and quick reflexes were on full display, reinforcing his reputation as a reliable last line of defence.

Del Vecchio punches it clear.

However, Pascoe Vale would open the scoring through Daniel Lucente, courtesy of a heavy deflection of Nick Weller with the unpredictability from a cross causing the ball to loop into the net.

Not letting their heads drop, Pythagoras viewed this as motivation.

Near the end of the first half, a brilliant free kick from Ruben Sanchez Marcano opening the scoring for Pythagoras, allowing Box Hill United to equalise. This season, Sanchez Marcano has consistently delivered crucial shots and goals and has excelled in Australian football. The Spanish midfielder’s precision and creativity has made him a constant threat to opponents, and his ability to deliver under pressure was once again proven with this match.

Sanchez Marcano breaks clear of the defender.

Late in the second half, Ryo Okamoto took it upon himself to be the difference maker as he fired a powerful shot from outside the opponent’s penalty area. Despite being under pressure from three opposing players, Okamoto showcased the true warrior spirit of Pythagoras. This goal marked the Japanese attacker’s third crucial goal of the season, consistently turning the tide for Box Hill United. Okamoto’s endurance and skill was instrumental in maintaining the team’s momentum and securing the win.

Okamoto celebrates his goal.

Etienne Mendoza also impressed, switching between striker and winger. He displayed his quick movement and attacking prowess, highlighting his potential as a future star. His dynamic presence on the field, coupled with his ability to read the game and exploit opportunities, has already begun to make him a fan favourite. Mendoza’s fearless approach and speed in the attacking third added a new dimension to Box Hill United’s offensive strategies.

Mendoza in full flight.

Box Hill United’s blend of seasoned players and emerging talents shone brightly in this hard-fought match. The team’s ability to adapt and overcome challenges, coupled with standout performances from key players, underscores their potential for continued success.

With such a spirited display, Box Hill United fans can look forward to more thrilling matches and potential victories as the season progresses.


Match details:

Pascoe Vale 1 (Lucente 23′) – Box Hill United 2 (Sanchez Marcano 37′, Okamoto 84′)


Written by: Ziyi (Antonia) Xu

Images credit: Passion Creations