Collaroy Cromer Strikers and Manly United junior Harry Van der Saag enjoyed yet another milestone after scoring his first A-League goal during Sydney FCs 3-0 victory over Central Coast Mariners on Sunday night.
The 20-year-olds opponents included a familiar face in Gianni Stensness- another Manly United junior who he played alongside during his junior years at CC Strikers.
Stensness is now an Under 20 New Zealand international who has been a regular starter for Alen Stajcic this season. He also found the back of the net on Sunday, however unfortunately for the midfielder and the Mariners his first-half header was ruled out for offside.
Van der Saag on the other hand registered his maiden strike in style with a rocket into the top right corner that sealed Sydneys triumph in stoppage time.
I just saw a bit of space in front of me and went for it, he recalled.
After a turnover in possession I attacked the ball and saw a shooting opportunity I could take which turned out pretty good.
In July last year Van der Saag made his professional debut in a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition fixture against French champions Paris Saint-Germain, where he faced with the task of marking none other than French world-cup winner Kylian Mbappe.
The defender has since enjoyed plenty of minutes for the runaway A-League leaders this campaign, not looking out of place as he slotted into the right-back role in the absence of suspended Socceroo Rhyan Grant a few months ago.
Van der Saag admits the potential of scoring a goal this season was not at the forefront of his mind.
I just wanted to play as much as many games as possible, he said.
As the season has gone on Ive made a few more appearances and Im always trying to make an impact off the bench so it’s definitely great to grab a goal after a good couple of weeks.
Van Der Saag will always look back at his time on the Northern Beaches with fond memories.
My years at Manly helped me a lot, I had some great coaches who were very good for my development, he reflected.
It’s really good to see all of the Manly boys coming through to Sydney FC and the A-League now.
Manly United always compete hard in the NPL and now produce juniors who can play professionally.
Van der Saag is still unsure whether he will return to Cromer to face Manly as a member of Jimmy Van Weerens NPL outfit later this year or enjoy some well-earned time off once the A-League season wraps up in May.