South Melbourne FC

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South Melbourne FC v Sunshine Georgies – Match Report

South Melbourne FC v Sunshine Georgies – Match Report

Monday, 17 July 2006 1:04 AM

By Michael Tsoukalis

South Melbourne has blown its chance of opening up a three point gap in 2nd place after a below par performance saw John Anastasiadis’s men snatch a 1-1 draw against a Sunshine Georgies outfit that came to Bob Jane Stadium fully intent on playing classic catenaccio.

South were boosted by the return of inspirational Brazilian Fernando Moraes who took his place amongst the substitutes.

Youngster Vasilios Natsioulas is still nursing a hamstring injury and watched from the stand.

Coach John Anastasiadis sent the team out as follows. Dean Anastasiadis began in goals with a back four consisting of Dino Djulbic and Tansel Baser as the central core with youngsters Rama Tavsancioglu and Sammy DeVito deployed in the right and left back positions respectively.

Midfield workhorse George Tzirtis took up his usual defensive midfield role with Scot MacNicol given license to push more forward. On the flanks youngsters Andrew Bourakis and Nick Curtis played on the left and right wings with Andreas Oliveira partnering youngster Gianni DeNittis in attack.

South began the game reasonably well, carving out a good opening after four minutes when MacNicol found some space down the right, played a quality low cutback to Oliveira who from 14 or so yards out blazed his first-time shot well over the crossbar.

Sunshine responded by hitting South on the counter in devastating fashion. A ball down the left wing saw the South defence pushed far too up the park. British import Mark Draycott latched onto the ball, just beating the offside trap according to the Assistant Referee, Draycott then proceeded to the edge of the South box and unleashed a 7th minute pile-driving angled strike that left Anastasiadis – at full stretch – with no chance.

Sunshine continued to suffocate the home side who were unable to play the fluent football that has become synonymous with South’s matches at Bob Jane Stadium this season.

The visitors nearly doubled their advantage after 27 minutes when another UK import Fidell Richards played a superb through ball that released a Sunshine player down the right wing. The Georgies player spotted Anastasiadis slightly off his line and attempted a delicate chip that had the South keeper stranded but fortunately for the home side trickled narrowly wide.

South managed to carve out a chance after 34 minutes when a Bourakis free kick from the right wasn’t effectively cleared by the Georgies defence with the ball falling to Oliveira who was just outside the box albeit on the left hand side. Oliveira unleashed a quality 20-yard effort that had the Georgies keeper beaten but unfortunately for the home side his shot sailed wide.

Coach Anastasiadis had no doubt seen enough and sent on Moraes for Curtis at the beginning of the 2nd half.

Moraes hadn’t had a chance to make an impact when South almost went two behind after Djulbic hesitated in defence and saw the ball stripped from his control. The Sunshine attacker, from the edge of the South box, produced a venomous 46th minute strike that narrowly flew past the near post of Anastasiadis.

A minute later and a clearly shaken Djulbic produced another nerve-wracking error. Again hesitation saw the ball stripped from his possession, only this time the Sunshine attacker was one-on-one with Anastasiadis. Djulbic in a desperate attempt to recover appeared to give away an obvious penalty, virtually pulling the shorts off the attacker who proceeded to keep his feet and fire at goal resulting in a superb save by Anastasiadis who narrowed the angle quickly to block with his feet.

Even if the referee had decided to play advantage, the fact Anastasiadis saved the resultant shot in no way equated to an “advantage” for the Georgies who were rightly fuming after play was waved on.

South seemed at a loss to find a way to get back into the encounter until Moraes lifted his influence. The Brazilian started to warm into the game, linking up well with Oliveira and working quick one-twos to try and pry open a watertight Georgies defence.

Moraes almost scored after 71 minutes after superb link-up play between the Brazilian and Tzirtis saw the latter dink a delicate ball in behind the Georgies defence. The ball was slightly ahead of Moraes who still managed to get a toe-poke effort on goal but saw his shot smothered by alert Georgies’ keeper Martin John.

Moraes was at it again in the 75th minute, again working a brilliant one-two to get in behind the Sunshine defence. Moraes found himself on a slight angle 6 or so yards out with the Brazilian trying to open his body so he could shoot across goal. Unfortunately for South, Moraes somehow scuffed his effort, failing to test the keeper when he should’ve scored.

South’s increasing dominance was rewarded in the 77th minute after a Bourakis corner was unconvincingly cleared by the Sunshine defence, the ball fell to the oncoming MacNicol who from the edge of the area and directly in front of goal rocketed a “daisy cutter” past John, bringing relief to the South faithful who had become progressively frustrated with the resilience of the Georgies.

Spurred on by their increasing momentum South almost snatched the three points after 82 minutes when MacNicol shook his marker and broke free with only a defender in front of him and with Oliveira peeling off to his right. MacNicol played in Oliveira who tried to outsmart John with a rising top-corner attempt that saw the Georgies’ custodian react brilliantly to parry away.

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