Date: July 21 2012
Canberra Olympic has ditched its pretty passing game in favour of blue-collar grit as it launches an audacious finals bid.
Four points outside the top four with six games to go, Olympic can't afford to fall further down the pack when it takes on Tuggeranong United at O'Connor tomorrow.
Last year's ACT Premier League grand finalist spluttered along early in the campaign, but has found its feet in recent weeks.
A stunning 1-0 upset of defending five-time champion Canberra FC a few weeks ago was followed by a dramatic 2-2 draw with the Cooma Tigers.
Olympic scored twice in the final six minutes, including the equaliser from the penalty spot in the fifth minute of injury time, to keep in touch with the top four.
That morale-boosting ending has given coach Leo Exarhos the belief his side has discovered a winning game plan.
''We've always been renowned for our ball-playing ability, but we're starting to concentrate on doing the ball-winning and tackling,'' he said.
''That's an area that's been lacking for us. We're starting to pick up on that and it's starting to have an effect on the lads at training. The sole focus is on the top four and to put pressure on the teams above us.''
The Tigers and Woden Valley are tied for third on 27 points and are nervously looking over their shoulders as Olympic stages a late-season revival.
That's despite having to cope with the exit of coach Dean Ugrinic, who last month stood down for personal reasons.
Olympic's charge has also been dealt a blow by the looming departure of key defender Nathen Megic who leaves next month to chase a professional contract in Italy.
Megic has been in stunning form since making the national finals of Nike's The Chance talent search program.
He will miss tomorrow's game through suspension after picking up his fourth yellow card of the campaign.
Belconnen United - which faces lowly Monaro Panthers in today's only game - has a stranglehold on the league title as a result of receiving the three points from its 2-0 loss to the Tigers, who had their points deducted for fielding a player who was not on the team sheet.
United is nine points clear of second-placed Canberra FC (29).
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