South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Green Gully v South Melbourne FC – Match Preview

Green Gully v South Melbourne FC – Match Preview

Friday, 25 August 2006 12:49 AM

By Michael Tsoukalis

A baptism of fire awaits South Melbourne this Sunday at Green Gully Reserve where the revitalized Gully will be looking to win at all costs in order to scrape into the finals whilst South Melbourne have just as much incentive, needing maximum points to secure second place and guarantee a double chance in the finals.

At one point during the season Green Gully were lingering dangerously near the relegation zone but the return of legendary Gully coach Ian Dobson has seen the Western Suburbs-based club rapidly climb the table to find themselves within two points of playing finals football.

John Anastasiadis’s men are coming off a resounding 5-1 win against the relegated Frankston Pines in what at times seemed like a training run for the Albert Park-based outfit who even in second gear, created chance after chance.

Besides the heavy score line, one immense positive to emerge from the game against Frankston was the superb performance of young striker Gianni DeNittis. DeNittis scored two goals and created another two showing great intelligence and quality finishing.

Even though South is playing away from home, DeNittis’s has no doubt created a selection dilemma for coach Anastasiadis who has favored playing with a sole striker in recent away games.

There is no doubt that diminutive striker Andreas Oliveira struggles to impose his quality when playing in such a system, however, in defense of Anastasiadis, South’s last 3 away games have yielded 2 wins and a draw, with the draw an unfortunate stoppage time equalizer two weeks ago against Bulleen.

Besides the long term injuries to Vasilios Natsioulas and Arthur Tsonis, South have a full quota of players to choose from with defensive colossus Con Blatsis slowly but gradually regaining match fitness and asserting his undoubted quality in the defensive half of the pitch.

Conversely, Green Gully are quite a changed outfit this term with last season’s champions having to blood inexperienced youngsters in Joel Nikolic and Matthew Sanders to lead the attack. Ian Dobson’s men have been repaid for the faith shown with both players netting a healthy 8 and 7 goals respectively.

An ever-present of recent Green Gully outfits has been an experienced spine of players and this season is no different with the likes of goal keeper Pasi Schwalger, Lubo Lapsansky, Dragi Nastevski, Andy Vargas and Brandon Vassallo all playing vital roles in Gully’s plight.

South will have their hands full trying to get the required result but with the support of their traveling faithful and a desperate Gully outfit, the one guarantee is that Sunday’s game is set to be a footballing occasion of the highest order.

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