Monday, 1 May 2006 1:10 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
An Andreas Oliveira hat-trick has inspired a 10-man South Melbourne to a much needed 4-1 triumph against a battling Bulleen outfit.
With Dino Djulbic receiving his marching orders after 50 minutes, South managed to play better football with 10 men as opposed to 11, adding another two goals in this period to kill the game off and send home their loyal faithful happy.
Ivory Coast native Jonas Salley picked up an injury in training during the week and Vasilios Natsioulas succumbed to an injury picked up against Oakleigh meaning that Coach John Anastasiadis was forced to make changes to the starting 11.
Recent midfield acquisition Antonio Naglieri started on the bench with Scot MacNicol being given a starting spot in the centre of the park, in came young defender James Stefanou with the hard-working George Tzirtis also winning back a starting role.
The starting eleven read as follows, Dean Anastasiadis in goal, a flat back three of Con Blatsis, Dino Djulbic and James Stefanou with Sammy Devito and George Tzirtis playing in right and left wingback roles respectively.
The defensive midfield anchor was Tansel Baser with Brazilian Fernando Moraes and Scot MacNicol playing attacking midfield roles. Up front, Captain Vaughn Coveny partnered diminutive new recruit Andreas Oliveira.
South started the game the brighter of the two sides with Moraes testing Bulleen keeper Tomas Kovar early on, making some space for himself and unleashing a 20 yard effort in the 5th minute that Kovar managed to parry.
A minute later, sensing Kovar’s shaky handling due to the wet conditions, Oliveira struck from 20 yards, seeing his shot slip through Kovar’s hands and trickle over the line to give South the early initiative.
Bulleen however struck back soon after when midfielder Steve Martin chested a loose ball invitingly into his path and unleashed a 25 yard daisy-cutter that caught South custodian Anastasiadis by surprise, slamming into the back of the net and squaring the encounter.
Twenty-seven minutes in and South could’ve went ahead after a superb long clearance from Anastasiadis eluded the Bulleen defence with Coveny latching onto the ball but failing to connect with his angled drive, kicking the turf and failing to work Kovar.
Then in the thirty-seventh minute, Bulleen missed a glorious opportunity after ex-Essendon striker Ben Harbison peeled off the South defence superbly, just managing to stay onside and controlling well in the box and with only Anastasiadis to beat from 8 or so yards out and on a slight angle to the right. Fortunately for the home side, Harbinson failed to test the South custodian and blazed over.
South immediately made Bulleen pay for their poor finishing after Coveny broke down the right flank and sent in a measured ball to the back post that saw Oliveira do superbly well to confuse his marker with an intelligent weaving run allowing for the South forward dynamo to loose his man and volley home from 2 yards out in the 38th minute, giving South a vital 2-1 edge before half time.
Sadly for South, colossal defender Con Blatsis broke down again towards the end of the first half with what appeared to be a muscle injury. Blatsis was replaced by Antonio Naglieri who shifted into midfield with Tansel Baser dropping back into defence.
Just before the half time break Harbinson again failed to capitalize on a good opening after a ball from the right was whipped into his feet, 12 or so yards out, Harbinson did well to turn his marker and sent his low 42nd minute drive narrowly past Anastasiadis’s right upright.
During first half injury time Tzirtis did well to work some space down the left for himself, skinning his marker and entering the Bulleen box, Tzirtis’s final left foot effort was decent, but unfortunately for South, slammed in the side netting.
The second half started with a bang with Dino Djulbic receving his marching orders after 50 minutes. A South attack saw the home team cross the ball into the Bulleen box with Djulbic seemingly contesting rightfully for the ball as Kovar came out to claim, however, the referee felt that Dlujbic had followed through and made contact with Kovar, giving the South defender his 2nd yellow of the evening and hence sending him off.
South looked initially nervy with 10 men and nearly conceded in the 55th minute after Anastasiadis missed a ball he came out to glove with the subsequent goal-line scramble eventually being cleared by the South defence.
The home side started to gain confidence with Moraes testing Kovar with a stinging 20 yard drive in the 61st minute that the Bulleen custodian did well to parry to his right and out for a corner.
Up-stepped Oliveira who produced a stunning looping corner with vicious curl, eluding the Bulleen defenders on the goal-line and sailing over Kovar. Initially it appeared the referee had signaled for a foul on the Zebras’ custodian as the Bulleen players were preparing to take a free-kick but the referee then pointed to the centre and started walking towards the kick-off spot, signaling that Oliveira’s goal was indeed valid, capping off his hat-trick and giving the diminutive striker a dream home debut.
Oliveira was soon after substituted and received a well-earnt standing ovation.
South then wrapped up proceedings with a champagne goal. MacNicol had broken well down the right and sent a quality looping ball to the back post. Moraes was waiting to pick up the scraps and when the Bulleen defence didn’t header away convincingly, Moraes controlled the ball and unleashed a stunning 68th minute left-foot volley past Kovar, beating the Bulleen custodian on his near post and sending the Clarendon Corner into party mode.
South then capped off an all-round team display with Anastasiadis pulling off the save of the evening. Bulleen had produced a quality 82nd minute corner from the left that found an unmarked player who from 8 yards out saw his headed effort superbly saved by the quick reflexes – and fingertips – of Anastasiadis who parried over at full stretch.