Friday, 21 July 2006 10:43 PM
By Michael Tsoukalis
A tense encounter awaits South Melbourne this Sunday when Altona makes the trek to Bob Jane Stadium with 2nd place up for the taking.
Both sides suffered disappointing results last week with South drawing 1-1 at home with Sunshine whilst Altona lost 0-1 to Richmond.
In what has been a tough week for the Magic, experienced coach and ex-South Melbourne player/coach Ken Murphy has moved on from the club after the Richmond defeat with Altona relying on the past success of new coach Vlado Tortevski to secure a top-two finish.
When both sides met in Round 8, a Saso Becvinovski double steered the Magic to a 3-1 triumph with Becvinovski continuing to maintain his reputation as one of the Vodafone Cup’s premier strikers, currently sitting in 2nd place on the scoring charts with 12 goals.
In fact Becvinovski has been so vital to Altona’s ability to score goals that his 12 goal tally represents 50% of all goals scored by the Magic.
South’s relatively inexperienced defence must keep Becvinovski in check without forgetting that Altona posseses quality all over the park. Players such as Levent Osman, Tomi Razov and Daniel Vasilevski all have vast experience at National League level and have the ability to hurt any opposition.
In the South camp, Brazilian maestro Fernando Moraes will be expected to start after being eased back into Vodafone Cup action against Sunshine last week.
South may be also boosted by the return of young winger Vasilios Natsioulas who still remains a fifty-fifty proposition with a hamstring injury still causing him some concern.
When Moraes entered the game against Sunshine his combination play with the likes of Oliveira and DeNittis was eye-catching and is the sort of intelligent football that can open up any defence in the league.
South must produce this fluency from the get-go as for the first 70 minutes of last week’s encounter against Sunshine, John Anastasiadis’s men lacked imagination, struggling to break down a flooded Georgies defence whilst looking extremely vulnerable on the counter as well.