Friday, 19 May 2006 1:32 PM
By Michael Tsoukalis
This Sunday’s encounter between two giants of Australian football and eternal rivals South Melbourne and Heidelberg promises to be a pulsating encounter.
Both sides need a win to consolidate their standings in the top six with the largest crowd of the Vodafone Cup 2006 season expected in attendance.
The Bergers are experiencing a poor run of form having not tasted victory in their past five matches and hence will be desperate for the three points at all costs.
Missing for the Phil Stubbins coached outfit will be forward Nick Marinos and inspirational leader Eric Vassiliadis who are serving suspensions after receiving straight red cards against the Sunshine Georgies in round 12.
The loss of Marinos is particularly damaging for the Bergers who have only scored 3 goals in their past four matches with the ex-Oakleigh striker the top goal-scorer at the club having netted four times so far this term.
Adelaide import Saranti Parissos will be asked to step up after only managing one goal this campaign. Parissos is a powerful striker with some pace and with the recent addition of ex-South Melbourne player Andy Vlahos coupled with the trickery of Yusuf Yusuf Heidelberg still present a genuine threat going forward.
Furthermore, in Nick Sabljak the Bergers possess a midfielder of immense technical ability with his passing range and ability to score goals a major threat against any opposition at this level.
In between the uprights the Bergers possess one of the Vodafone Cup’s finest. Lupce Acevski is a proven shot stopper at both State and National League level and forms an intimidating final barrier to goal. However, with the Bergers conceding 18 times so far this campaign, the most of any team in the top 6, Acevski will have to be at his best if the Bergers are to stop the recent goal scoring surge of South.
With South’s last two home games producing 7 goals, the return of skipper Vaughn Coveny from suspension is perfectly timed as the Kiwi international will only increase the attacking options available for Coach John Anastasiadis.
In fact Anastasiadis has been spoilt recently with the excellent performances of Brazilian Fernando Moraes and diminutive striker Andreas Oliveira who are ever increasingly linking up superbly in general play and most importantly for South, scoring goals.
Colossal defender Con Blatsis is also a chance to return with his presence needed as South continue to run thin in their defensive stocks. So thin that last week against Green Gully South player and AIS member Steven O’Dor was flown in from Canberra, a luxury of course that cannot be afforded on a weekly basis.