Monday, 28 August 2006 12:19 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
South Melbourne have produced a lackluster performance in going down 2-0 against a determined Green Gully outfit who on the back of this win have now scraped into the 2006 finals series and ironically will again face South Melbourne next week.
John Anastasiadis’s men looked at times disinterested and lacking in enthusiasm with youngsters Matthew Sanders and Serkan Oksuz punishing defensive errors in the 36th and 68th minutes to ensure Green Gully’s 2nd half of the season resurrection under Ian Dobson was completed.
Coach Anastasiadis rested Dino Djulbic, Tansel Baser and Scot MacNicol from the starting lineup. A combination of accumulated yellow cards and wanting to freshen up his players for a finals assault were behind his decision.
South lined up as follows. Veteran Dean Anastasiadis started in between the uprights. Rama Tavsancioglu was moved into central defence partnering Con Blatsis with Sammy DeVito playing left back and George Tzirtis playing in an unfamiliar right back role. In the centre of the park Antonio Naglieri played in the anchor defensive midfield role with youngster Andrew Bourakis playing the more advanced attacking midfield role. Out wide, youngster Nick Curtis and Brazilian maestro Fernando Moraes played on the right and flanks respectively. In attack, Coach Anastasiadis showed faith in the emerging combination of Andreas Oliveira and youngster Gianni DeNittis.
South started decently with Moraes blowing a good opening after 6 minutes when DeNittis found himself in some space down the right, cut the ball back to Moraes who took a touch to get passed the Gully defence but from just outside the box, miscued his strike well over the bar.
The visitors nearly went ahead after 28 minutes when DeNittis again did well to spot Oliveira with a quality cutback from the right. The diminutive striker found himself 20 or so yards out and unleashed a quality effort, seeing his strike wickedly deflected and dipping furiously with Green Gully custodian Pasi Schwalger stranded. Unfortunately for South the ball didn’t dip sharply enough and sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
Green Gully however had been playing the more fluent and determined football with the home side rewarded on 36 minutes when a well-taken corner from the right wasn’t well dealt with by the South defence, leading to a mini scramble in the 6 yard box. South custodian Anastasiadis seemed to lunge onto the ball and looked set to glove it when the ball slipped out of his grasp and fell into the path of young Gully striker Matthew Sanders who from 2 yards out slammed home to put Dobson’s men ahead.
Two minutes later and Gully should’ve been two ahead after midfielder Andy Vargas broke into the box and unleashed a powerful volley from the edge of the South defensive area that cannoned off the cross bar with Anastasiadis beaten.
South continued to live dangerously in the second half, this time Sanders broke in behind the South defence after Tavsancioglu mistimed a headed clearance. With seemingly only Anastasidis to beat, Sanders took a touch too long with Tavsancioglu quickly recovering and putting enough pressure on the Gully youngster to see the chance blown.
The visitors defence continued to look shaky. This time miscommunication and lack of covering in the backline saw another Gully youngster, Joel Nikolic find some space down the left hand side of the South box. Nikolic tried a “daisy cutter” angled drive that skimmed narrowly past Anastasiadis’s left upright.
Gully got the sealer in the 68th minute after another defensive lapse by the South defence saw a Gully player left alone with only Anastasiadis to beat. The South keeper did well to save the first effort but could do nothing about Gully substitute Serkan Oksuz’s follow up with the ex-Melbourne Knights and Preston striker smashing home from 4 or so yards out.
Two minutes later and Gully winger Jeffrey Fleming came close to adding a third after he broke down the left, made his way into the South box but blazed over.
Coach Anastasiadis had sent on Baser and MacNicol during the second half but their effectiveness was minimal with the South outfit in general looking very tired and lacking freshness.
The way results panned out, South have finished the season in 3rd place and will again face Green Gully in the first round of the finals next Friday night.
John Anastasiadis’s men will have to show an immense improvement if they are to produce the required result against a Gully outfit that seems to be peaking at the right time of the season.