Monday, 23 May 2005 12:32 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
South Melbourne has ground out a 0-0 draw against Heidelberg United in a somewhat dour round 14 Vodafone Premier League fixture.
The large crowd was treated to a tactical battle where South let Heidelberg attack looking for a shut-out and perhaps nicking a goal on the break whereas the home side tried in vain to pile on the pressure and score goals.
Coach John Anastasiadis’s hand was forced after colossal defender Con Blatsis was ruled out of the game with a calf injury. Dean Anastasiadis stood between the uprights whilst Arthur Tsirtsakis made his was back into the starting-11 at right back. Youngster Sammy DeVito slotted into the centre of the defence alongside Arthur Tsonis with Rama Tavsancioglu deployed in his customary left back role. In the centre of the park George Tzirtis and Scott MacNicol resumed their partnership with Peter Koutsoupias and Ryan Dinse filling the right and left wing positions respectively. Up front Kosta Salapasidis once again lined up in his roaming supporting role with Captain Vaughn Coveny used as the lone target man.
As early as the 5th minute Heidelberg threatened after silky winger Yussef Yussef made a damaging run down the right and whipped in a dangerous low ball which striker Joe Tricarico was on hand to meet. The ex-Carlton striker rushed and miss-hit his attempt with his shot going well over.
Yussef was it again after 11 minutes slotting a ball in behind the South defence for Tricarico to latch onto. Thankfully for the visitors keeper Dean Anastasiadis was quickly off his line and smothered the diminutive striker’s attempt.
The chances were falling Tricarico’s way with striker capitalising on a breakdown in communication by the South defence, latching onto a 21st minute long ball from the backline. Unfortunately for the home side Tricarico was once again wasteful sending his attempt well over the crossbar.
A minute later and the game erupted after Tricarico produced an awful tackle on Tavsancioglu. With Tavsancioglu well clear Tricarico swiped at his legs. A mini fracas erupted with Arthur Tsonis and Tricario eventually booked with the Heidelberg striker extremely fortunate to remain on the pitch.
South had been patiently waiting for a chance to counter attack with the opportunity finally arriving in the 29th minute after a long ball from defence found skipper Coveny who took a touch and with an outstretched shot saw his effort trickle narrowly wide.
Two minutes later Yussef once again terrorised the South defence breaking down the right and sending a wicked ball into the South box that was hastily cleared and nearly fell to the oncoming and unmarked Damianos. In the next passage of play Yussef this time managed to work his way into the South box producing a low centre that caused heart flutters for the South defence but was eventually cleared.
Just before the break both sides had chances to go ahead with a 46th minute Heidelberg corner finding an unmarked Tony Ouliaris who couldn’t keep his header down whilst a minute later South winger Ryan Dinse skinned his direct marker down the right, worked his way to the bi-line and whipped a deadly low ball across the Heidelberg box that no-one was on hand to finish off.
Chances were far fewer in the second half with Heidelberg dominating possession but failing to break down a spirited South defence lead brilliantly by Tsonis and DeVito.
The Bergers did however muster up a chance as early as the 48th minute after a Bill Damianos corner was met well on the volley with Anastasiadis on hand to glove well down low.
Fifty-eight minutes in ex-South Melbourne stalwart Fausto De Amicis received the ball 30 or so yards out. The right back progressed up the pitch, made some space and unleashed a 20 yard effort that had Anastasiadis scrambling and at full stretch. Thankfully for South De Amicis’s strike went narrowly wide.
Arthur Tsirtsakis had been playing more conservatively than usual looking to sure up his side of defence. However, in the 61st minute the South wing-back showed a glimpse of his attacking instinct breaking down the right and whipping in a delightful ball that was destined to be nodded home by a South attacker only for the giant frame of ex-South defender Robert Liparoti to nod away at full stretch.
The game then died down with Heidelberg still dominating possession but lacking the guile and creativity to make it count. The Bergers did however almost finish with a bang after an 89th minute deep cross from the right was met at the back post by a free Heidelberg player who produced a text-book low header that had Anastasiadis beaten. However, thankfully for South the well positioned DeVito managed to nod over the crossbar on the goa-line. From the resulting corner substitute and ex-South Melbourne favourite Goran Lozanovski rose and produced a firm and low header that the razor-sharp Anastasiadis was quickly down to save.