Monday, 22 May 2006 2:09 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
South Melbourne has turned on the style smashing eternal rivals Heidelberg United 3-1 and consolidating their position in the Vodafone Cup top six.
A George Tzirtis belter, a brilliant curling finish by Fernando Moraes and a text-book one-on-one strike by Captain Vaughn Coveny capped off a scintillating display of precise attacking football that saw South relentless in knocking the ball around, producing brilliant link-up play and creating a multitude of goal-scoring opportunities.
With defender Dino Djulbic and Captain Vaughn Coveny returning from suspension South received a much needed boost to its playing stocks with both players going straight back into the starting eleven.
South lined up as follows. Veteran custodian Dean Anastasiadis started in goals with a central defensive trio consisting of youngsters Dino Djulbic, Steven O’Dor and Sammy DeVito. In the defensive midfield positions Tansel Baser and George Tzirtis took up the reigns with Scot MacNicol playing the more advanced and attacking midfield role. Youngster Nick Curtis started for his third consecutive game playing in a right wing-back role with Fernando Moraes on the left. Up front, skipper Vaughn Coveny was paired with Andreas Oliveira.
South started the game somewhat shakily with the visitors dominating play and keeping the hosts suspended in their own half. The Bergers however failed to capitalize on their opening period of dominance and were warned of things to come when Brazilian Moraes found some space and just when destined to shoot, cut the ball back to Oliveira who from 8 or so yards out and with only Acevski to beat couldn’t keep his shot down, blazing over when he should’ve scored.
The home side began to dominate but suffered a minor setback in the 23rd minute after Moraes had seemingly broken free down the left wing after Coveny had been fouled in the process of playing the ball which released Moraes.
Referee Jim Ouliaris failed to play the advantage which would’ve resulted in a clear goal-scoring opportunity for the home side, instead choosing to hold up play and book the offending Heidelberg player. It was a decision which infuriated the South Melbourne faithful who failed to see why Ouliaris didn’t let play continue and then book the player at the next available opportunity.
However, South went ahead via a George Tzirtis stunner. Nice interplay at the edge of the Heidelberg box saw Oliveira spread the ball wide to Tzirtis. The hard-working South midfielder didn’t hesitate and unleashed a dipping 25 yard effort that had Acevski stranded with the ball looping over his head and nestling into the top left hand corner.
After failing to add the all important second goal, South nearly conceded late on in the half when a Heidelberg corner was met by defender Daniel Jones who saw his angled header sail narrowly past Anastasiadis’s left upright with the South custodian beaten.
The second half saw South continue their dominance. Fernando Moraes who had been having a brilliant game was rewarded after a MacNicol through ball released Coveny down the right flank. The skipper could’ve squared to Oliveira but chose instead to go to the back-post where Moraes was lurking. The Brazilian’s first touch was ordinary with the chance appearing lost; however, Moraes recovered, made some space and sent a thunderbolt curling right foot effort past the hapless Acevski – who didn’t have enough time to react – into the right hand corner.
Playing delightful football South searched for a third. Coveny had been menacing all night and should’ve scored mid-way through the second half after he found himself with a man to beat, comfortably shimmied past him and with only Acevski in his path couldn’t direct his shot past the Berger’s keeper with Nick Curtis’s failing to make decent contact with the subsequent follow-up header.
South continued knocking on the door of a third goal and it nearly arrived after superb vision by Oliveira saw the diminutive South forward produce a splendid cross from the right to Coveny who at full stretch sent his diving header towards goal only to once again be denied by Acevski.
The continued pressure of the home side finally paid off after DeVito won the ball in defence and released Djulbic who had a nice one-two interchange with Moraes and eventually played a perfectly weighted through ball that was latched onto by Coveny. The South skipper had done superbly well to bust the off-side trap and find himself in acres of space again with only Acevski to beat.
This time the Kiwi international made no mistake, rounding Acevski and slotting home for his 4th goal of the current campaign, but more importantly, giving South a much deserved 3-0 lead.
With the game comfortably won, South relaxed and paid a price for taking their foot off the peddle. Ex-Carlton striker Joe Tricario tucked home a consolation goal late on after the Bergers broke down the right flank and produced a decent cross that Anastasiadis failed to deal with. The ball broke to Tricarico on the back post who made no mistake, hammering his effort into the back of the net.