Sunday, 4 June 2006 10:23 PM
By Michael Tsoukalis
South Melbourne has trounced Kingston City 4-1 producing a superb performance to humiliate the big spending “Reds”.
An own goal, a towering header by Dino Djulbic and a Kevin Nelson double sent the South faithful home extremely satisfied having fully avenged their round three, 3-0 trouncing at the hands of George Katsakis’s men. Joey Di Iorio grabbed Kingston’s solitary strike.
With captain Vaughn Coveny continuing his international commitments with New Zealand and midfielder George Tzirtis serving a suspension for an automatic red card against Fawkner, South coach John Anastasiadis brought in exciting youngster Vasilios Natsioulas as well as keeping faith with Trinidad and Tobago native Kevin Nelson.
Anastasiadis lined up his men as follows. Veteran custodian Dean Anastasiadis started in goal with a back four consisting of a central defensive pairing of Steven O’Dor and Dino Djulbic with the returning Rama Tavsancioglu and Sammy DeVito playing in the right and left back roles respectively.
In the centre of the park Tansel Baser played the defensive midfield anchor with Scot MacNicol the more attacking of the duo. On the right wing Vasilios Natsioulas took his place with Brazilian Fernando Moraes on the left. Up front Andreas Oliveira partnered Kevin Nelson.
South started with a bang scoring after only two minutes when a superb individual piece of skill down the right by Natsioulas saw the youngster weave his way past two markers with a sublime turn. Natsioulas then produced a quality low centre that found an unmarked Nelson. Nelson scuffed his shot but was fortunate that it deflected off a Kingston defender and past City goalkeeper Daniel Zilic.
Only 10 minutes had been played when South suffered a setback after young defender Steven O’Dor was forced to leave the ground after appearing to pick up a leg muscle injury. Fellow youngster James Stefanou stepped into his role.
Ex-South Melbourne midfield/striker Peter Koustoupias fluffed a glorious chance after 12 minutes after good work down the right flank by Kingston saw a brilliant cross played into the path of Koutsoupias. Fortunately for South Koutsoupias completely miss-hit his volleyed attempt, failing to test Anastasiadis.
After 16 minutes Moraes found some space and released Oliveira. The diminutive striker looked to have beaten Kingston defender Steve Iosifidis but the ex-South defender recovered in time and smothered for a corner.
Kingston threatened in the 21st minute after their initial corner from the right wasn’t convincingly cleared by the South defence with the visitors sending in a quality low cross at the second attempt that caused a scramble near the South goal line. Fortunately for South the ball was eventually cleared.
South should’ve doubled their advantage after 29 minutes when Nelson spotted Natsioulas’s well timed run down the left hand side of the Kingston box. Unfortunately for South Natsioulas’s first touch let him down with his eventual left foot strike saved by Zilic and out for a corner.
However, from the subsequent corner giant defender Dino Djulbic rose and powered an angled header past a stationary Zilic. A Kingston player on the line managed to prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net but the Assistant Referee was well positioned and re-acted accordingly, lifting his flag and running to the centre of the park indicating the ball had indeed crossed the line.
Three minutes later and South tripled their lead. Superb close ball control in the centre of the park followed by a perfectly timed and weighted pass by Moraes saw MacNicol freed down the right in acres of space. MacNicol made his way into the Kingston box and squared for Nelson who from 6 yards out couldn’t miss, hammering the ball into the bottom left corner and sending the South faithful into delirium.
South ended the half with a narrow escape after a Kingston cross from the right to the back post saw a rising Kingston player make good contact with his header having beaten Anastasiadis only to see his effort cleared off the line by the well positioned Djulbic.
The second half commenced with South forced into another substitution. This time Oliveira succumbed to injury with Gianni DeNittis replacing him. Kingston also made a substitution taking off the ineffective Koustoupias and replacing him with silky striker Joey Di Iorio.
Kingston re-shaped their formation, taking considerable risk by sending more players forward in the hope of being able to peg back South’s advantage.
The visitors almost began the half with the perfect start after a 46th minute flick-on header across goal fell to a Kingston player, who with his back to goal attempted a snap-shot from 8 or so yards that had Anastasiadis at full stretch, with the South keeper relieved to see the ball bounce off his right upright and cleared by the defence.
A couple minutes later South should’ve capitalized and iced the game as Kingston’s desperate search for a goal saw South unleash a 4-on-2 counter attack. Moraes seemed to hesitate slightly but still played in Nelson. The Trinidad and Tobago native tried to lay it off with the ball eventually being played back to him, but by now the Kingston defence had recovered and the chance was lost.
Kingston managed to peg one back in the 52nd minute after a skied long ball saw Tavsancioglu completely misjudge his headed clearance, missing it altogether with little pressure and hence releasing Kingston down the left wing. Kingston squared the ball intelligently to Di Iorio who from 6 yards out tapped home unmarked.
The visitors continued to push up and pressure with the South defence, inspired by keeper Anastasiadis, repelling any threat. South’s desperation for the result was characterized late on when the ball fell to Kingston for a seemingly open strike on goal from just outside the box. Tansel Baser threw himself at the ball showing no restraint for his body and produced a superb block.
With Kingston running out of steam South scored a piercing sealer in the 86th minute. MacNicol surged forward and played a superb ball in behind the Kingston defence that found Nelson in some space. Nelson however still had much to do and to Kingston custodian Zilic’s surprise, Nelson unleashed a low left-foot rocket from just outside the box, which gave Zilic no chance and nestled into the bottom-right corner.