South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Magic wins the day

Magic wins the day

Sunday, 26 June 2005 11:21 AM

By Michael Tsoukalis

South Melbourne have come away from Paisley Park with a disappointing 2-1 loss to the Altona Magic.

An all-round disappointing display saw the visitors comprehensively outplayed for the majority of the encounter with the saving grace for John Anastasiadis’s men being a final 10 minute rush which nearly saw the visitors escape with a draw.

With George Tzirtis absent because of sickness, Arthur Tsirtisakis was drafted into the starting 11 playing in the defensive midfield role. Tsirtsakis aside, Coach Anastasiadis put out a familiar looking line-up. As always Dean Anastasiadis was between the uprights whilst in the centre of defence Steven O’Dor once again partnered Arthur Tsonis with Rama Tavsancioglu and Sammy DeVito playing left and right back respectively. In the centre of the park Kosta Salapasidis was placed in the attacking midfield role with Tsirtsakis placed in front of the back four. Out wide Scot MacNicol took the right wing with Ryan Dinse on the left. The gradually-blossoming striking partnership of Peter Koutsoupias and skipper Vaughn Coveny rounded up South’s starting 11.

On a side note, Vasilios Natsioulas continues to be plagued by glandular fever with his return remaining indefinite whilst Con Blatsis was due to return this week but unfortunately re-aggravated his calf injury during training.

A mere 20 seconds in South should’ve scored. DeVito played a perfectly weighted ball down the right that Koutsoupias latched onto. The powerful striker exploded down the flank and played an inch-perfect low ball across the Altona box taking out the keeper and finding an unmarked Ryan Dinse who from 4 or so yards out and on a very slight angle somehow failed to put the ball into the back of the net. Dinse’s miss was a huge let off for the Magic who would’ve no doubt been shell shocked with a goal so early in the proceedings.

Altona responded with a 3rd minute strike from Cameron Pino which went well over the bar and then a fierce 10th minute angled cracked that sailed narrowly over the left top corner.

Twenty minutes in and Coveny broke down the right flank sending in a decent cross. Salapasidis rose well but was put under just enough pressure to send his header wayward.

Sammy DeVito had been having an impressive game on the right side of defence and his venture forward in the 34th minute nearly saw the young defender open the scoring. A corner from the right was played dangerously close to the Altona keeper with DeVito rising above all but just failing to keep his header down.

With the half nearing an end Altona almost went ahead after O’Dor misjudged a high ball. The Magic broke away with pace with the South defence scurrying back to lay on some pressure. An eventual strike – just outside the box – was had which saw Anastasiadis at full stretch but thankfully for the visitors the shot sailed narrowly past the right upright.

Then with the final kick of the half Altona went ahead. A sweet move saw an Altona player on the edge of the South box chest the ball down to the incoming Kole Delev who produced a stunning first time drive that potentially may have taken a deflection but nonetheless left keeper Anastasiadis with no chance as it flew into the bottom left corner. A brutal blow for South who had slightly edged the first half.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with Altona now gradually starting to wrestle control.

Fifty-seven minutes in Altona should’ve doubled their advantage after a quick break down the left produced a dangerous low ball that saw the both sets of players in the box scrambling for position. Altona got to the ball first and produced a sharp first-time-flick on target that unfortunately for the home side was prevented from hitting the back of the net after a fellow Altona player blocked the path of the ball.

Two minutes later the Magic spurned another good chance after a cross from the right saw the South defence again scrambling with Altona managing an angled strike that narrowly missed the bottom right corner with Anastasiadis beaten.

Altona’s sustained period of pressure was finally rewarded in the 63rd minute after a deep cross from the left wasn’t convincingly punched away by a scurrying Anastasiadis. Tavsancioglu tried to head away but only succeeded in placing the ball into the path of the incoming Stiven Mrkela who from 10 yards out but with both a South defender and Anastasiadis on the line still managed to rifle the ball into the roof of the net to give the Magic a cushioned 2-0 lead.

Coach Anastasiadis then sent on the Brazilian import Fernando Moraes looking for an attacking spark and some creativity. Moraes has slowly but surely worked his way into the pace and style of South’s game and was again extremely unfortunate not to have started.

Seventy-eight minutes in and an Altona nearly iced the game after a deflected strike went just wide.

To South’s credit they significantly raised the tempo in the last 10 or so minutes with Moraes continuing to be mobile and assured in his passing and positive movement.

The Albert Park-based club almost pegged one back in the 86th minute after a cross from the left saw South manage a decent header on goal only for the Altona keeper to produce a superb one handed top corner save.

Two minutes later South had a goal dubiously disallowed. A quality ball was whipped in from the right with Koutsoupias escaping his marker and managing to direct a header towards goal. His direct marker got an unfortunate deflection which wrong-footed the keeper and made its way into the net. A tense finish was denied after the linesman raised his flag signalling that Koutsoupias was in an offside position. The South players protested as the call appeared to be extremely tight with first impressions favouring that the goal should’ve stood.

In the 91st minute South finally got on the scoresheet after a superb through ball by Moraes released a South player down the right side of the Altona box. The ball was brilliantly squared with Koutsoupias on hand to calmly slot home.

Privacy Preference Center