Monday, 10 April 2006 2:12 AM
By George Kouroumalis
South Melbourne overcame a committed Richmond on Sunday in what can only be described as a fiery match that could have been confused with an Essendon – Hawthorn AFL game of the 80’s rather than a game of Vodafone Cup football.
South, with new boys Oliviera, Djulbic and Naglieri came out running, dominating possession in the early stages of the contest.
However to the astonishment of the South faithful, Richmond through energetic striker
Veton Korcarevski managed the first goal of the game in the 16th minute.
Korcarevski took hold of possession just outside the area and launched a low drive that struck the post and found the back of the net.
Immediately from the restart, Andreas Oliviera in his first game for South Melbourne confused the Richmond defence weaving his way into the box, only to be fouled by the Richmond defender winning the penalty for his new club.
Moraes then stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net.
With the game evenly poised, an innocuous foul on Tansel Baser threatened to turn the contest into a wrestling match.
South players took offence to the treatment of Baser and responded by telling Richmond player Simon Webster what they thought of his treatment of Baser.
This however lead into an all in brawl, with both sets of players confronting each other over the incident, with pushing and verbal insults being exchanged.
To the outrage of the home crowd, only one player in South fullback Ramazan Tavsancioglu was sent off, with numerous other players given a yellow card.
Leading up to half time with the game in a bit of a quiet period following the incident, Moraes came close to breaking the deadlock with a powerful strike from 20 yards that tested the Richmond keeper.
In the second half both sides came out cautiously with no real chance falling until the 61st minute when Baser and Naglieri combined to set up the Ivory Coast native in Jonas Salley, who launched a amazing drive from 30 yards.
Although the South faithful and Salley himself thought the ball was headed to the top corner, it swirved late and missed the target by a coat of paint.
In response Richmond pushed forward through former Heidelberg player Brendan Beni, who had two clear cut chances on goal in the 68th and 72nd minutes respectively.
The first chance was well held by Dean Anastasiadis in the South goal, however the second caused confusion in the South area with Beni having two cracks at the target only for his shot to strike the cross bar.
This close call sparked South Melbourne who through a well placed shot from new player Naglieri came close to breaking the deadlock in the 77th minute.
However once again the strike was only inches away from finding the back of the net.
In pushing for the winner a deflected pass from Salley lead for an inviting ball to fall between Kevin Nelson and Richmond keeper, who under pressure opted to punch the ball out of the area into the clear.
Unfortunately for the youngster the ball fell to South midfielder MacNicol, who from 30 yards steered a volley into the empty net sending the small but vocal crowd into raptures.
This was the last chance of the game with referee Senko Rasticic blowing for full time moments later.
The much needed win sent South Melbourne into sixth place on the table, but only one point behind fourth placed Heidelberg United with a game in hand, while Richmond were sent to the bottom of the Vodafone Cup Standings.
Both teams have a two week break for Easter before the next round of games.