Monday, 15 May 2006 1:26 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
In a devastating performance of relentless attacking football, South Melbourne has smashed 2005 Vodafone Cup Champions Green Gully 3-0.
Brazilian maestro Fernando Moraes scored a double, with Trinidad and Tobago native Kevin Nelson rounding off the scoreline.
With Captain Vaughn Coveny, Rama Tavsancioglu and Dino Djulbic all serving suspensions and Jonas Salley unavailable after signing on to play in the A-League, South flew in Steven O’Dor from his AIS commitments and threw him straight into the centre of the defence.
Kevin Nelson also lined up for his first start in more than a month whilst young winger Vasilios Natsioulas returned from injury to take his place on the bench.
The South starting-eleven read as follows. Dean Anastasiadis lined up in goal with Sammy DeVito, Steven O’Dor and James Stefanou used as a central defensive trio.
In wingback positions youngster Nick Curtis lined up on the right with Scot MacNicol on the left. Antonio Naglieri and Tansel Baser both played in deep midfield holding positions with Fernando Moraes playing as the attacking loose man in behind the strikers.
Up front Kevin Nelson partnered the diminutive Andreas Oliveira.
South almost scored in the 2nd minute after a superb chipped through ball by Moraes spotted Nelson’s intelligent run behind the Gully defence. Unfortunately for South Nelson’s control was poor with the Gully defence recovering, closing in and eventually clearing.
South continued to attack with a nice one-two – in the 12th minute – between Nelson and Moraes resulting in a decent 25 yard rising effort from the Brazilian that sailed well over the crossbar.
Seventeen minutes in and Nelson created some space down the right edge of Green Gully’s box. The Trinidad and Tobago native then managed to squeeze the ball back to Oliveira who unleashed a pile driving effort that seemed destined for the back of the net only for the shot to come crashing off an ill-placed South player’s forehead.
Gully immediately unleashed a counter-attack with a break down the left side of the South box seeing a strike aimed at Anastasiadis’s near post sail just wide.
South had been dominating possession and had limited Green Gully’s attacking play. The home side almost went ahead after 36 minutes when Naglieri played in Oliveira who from 25 or so yards out and on a slight angle, unleashed a superb low strike that just skimmed past the left upright with Gully custodian Pasi Schwalger well beaten.
South then went ahead courtesy of some Moraes magic. The ball fell bumbling towards the Brazilian just outside the Gully box slightly on the left. The Brazilian then proceeded to unleash a rocket-like effort that cannoned in off the left upright leaving Schwalger no chance and handing a South a 39th minute lead.
The home side looked to wrap up proceedings with a 2nd goal and Brazilian Moraes once again provided the inspiration. This time “Liliko” as he is known to the South faithful slotted home a 20-yard free kick, comfortably beating Schwalger after managing to dip his shot over the wall and doubling South’s advantage after 56 minutes.
Moraes should’ve had his hat-trick after superb interplay between Nelson and Curtis saw the latter produce a brilliant diagonal 63rd minute searching ball that found an unmarked Moraes. Curtis’s ball was so inch-perfect that it even evaded a diving Schwalger with Moraes presented with an empty net, though on a slight angle. Unfortunately for South Moraes tried to emphatically side-foot home his effort, seeing his shot cannon off the left upright when perhaps a simple tap-in would’ve sufficed.
South was now in party mode with Nelson continuing to have an influence. This time a quality flick by Nelson found Oliveira outside the box. The diminutive South genius made some space for himself with some quick footwork and then unleashed a stunning 20-yard effort, that had Schwalger scurrying and beaten, only to see his 75th minute effort cannon off the right upright.
Oliveira should’ve opened his account when an 82nd minute clearance by Anastasiadis evaded the Gully defence and sent Oliveira on his way one-on-one with Schwalger. Oliveira took his time, jinked inside to evade a rushing Gully defender but unfortunately failed to beat Schwalger who saved well down low and out for a corner.
South then wrapped up proceedings when Nelson received the ball 25 or so yards out. Showing a level of confidence that has been lacking for a great part of the season to date, Nelson went on a run, using his pace to skin the Gully defence and calmly slot past a hapless Schwalger to give South a much-deserved third in the 84th minute.
The game finished with a flurry with Nelson once again being a menace for the Gully defence, finding some space down the left and squaring for substitute George Tzirtis who produced a decent low 86th minute strike that needed a good save from Schwalger.
Nelson then frustrated the South faithful after twice using his pace to get in behind the Gully defence down the right wing and twice avoiding an easy cut-back to an unmarked Oliveira who from 6 or so yards out would’ve had little trouble in inflating the scoreline.
To Gully’s credit they almost scored late on when a 90th minute corner was dangerously nodded across the South goalmouth, eventually being cleared off the goal-line by the South defence and out for another corner.