Wednesday, 9 August 2006 5:26 PM
By Michael Tsoukalis
South travel to the Veneto Club on Monday to take on the Michael Michalakopoulos coached Bulleen Zebras in what looms as a must win match for both sides.
South have the incentive of looking to secure a top two finish whilst if Bulleen are to continue to hold hopes for a top-six finish, a win on Monday is absolutely essential.
The visitors have been dealt a blow with rising young winger Vasilios Natsioulas ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a severe flesh wound to his thigh in last week’s encounter against Oakleigh.
Fellow youngster Nick Curtis replaced Natsioulas against Oakleigh, doing quite well in the process and most probably securing himself a start against the Zebras.
Midfield workhorse George Tzirtis will no doubt also come back into contention for a starting role after missing last week with a bout of flu whilst Con Blatsis may be rested after limping throughout the second half against the Cannons.
In Ricky Diaco, Ben Harbinson and Hamlet Armenian the Zebras posses proven goal scorers at Premier League level with Harbinson in particular having a decent season managing 8 goals so far this term.
Diaco of course played in the inaugural season of the A-League and brings physical prowess coupled with intelligent footwork to a Zebras team that will no doubt look to involve him in the majority of their attacking play.
Players like Ari Drakos, Ross Antoniadis and Steve Martin are all highly experienced at Premier League level and provide the Zebras with a core of players who know what’s required to get the job done.
South will have to address a recent lack of goal scoring which has coincided with a recent run of patchy form with John Anastasiadis’s men having only managed 2 goals in their past 4 encounters.
Contrary to their return of goals, South have in general been playing very solid and sometimes superb free-flowing football which was clearly evident in last week’s encounter against the ladder-topping Cannons whereby South put Stuart Munro’s men to the sword but ultimately paid for their lack of finishing.