South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Bulleen Zebras v South Melbourne – Match Preview

Bulleen Zebras v South Melbourne – Match Preview

Thursday, 24 February 2005 6:50 PM

By Michael Tsoukalis

South Melbourne’s unbeaten start to the season will be put under severe test this coming Monday when the Albert Park-based club take on last season’s Champions the Bulleen Zebras.

The Zebras have had a somewhat indifferent start and will be desperate for a win to kick-start their season. Two one-all draws against Fawkner-Whittlesea and Heidelberg with a surprising 2-1 defeat against the Bentleigh Greens – in round 2 – sees the Zebras rooted in second last position.

The crux of last season’s squad has hung around with the addition of last year’s gold medal winner Ricky Diaco – from the Frankston Pines – an astute pickup. Ex-South keeper Michael Theoklitos remains one of, if not the best custodian in the league and will no doubt be looking to depart the Vodafone Premier League – Theoklitos has signed for the Melbourne Victory – with an inspired performance against his former club. VPL journeyman Peter Kakos as always will provide a threat on goal with the talents of young midfielder Billy Celeski likely to excite those in attendance.

Conversely, South have surprised many and see themselves in equal 1st after the first 3 rounds. Coach John Anastasiadis has done a sterling job moulding a unit on limited resources that has managed to achieve immediate results. South’s positive start cannot be put down to one or two particular factors. The team has played tight across the backline – conceding only 1 goal – whilst up front the experience and class of Kosta Salapasidis and Vaughn Coveny have managed to provide the crucial goals. In the middle of the park diminutive Scottish winger Ryan Dinse has easily handled the step up from State 2 and has been in impressive form. Evan Karavitis and Vasilios Natsioulas have also been solid.

South could be boosted by the long-awaited return of giant centre-back Con Blatsis. Blatsis played in a midweek friendly against Chinese team Tianjin and slotted in incredibly well, looking at ease on the ball and free from any serious knocks.

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