Monday, 14 May 2007 11:30 AM
By George Kouroumalis
South Melbourne has won its first home game of 2007, with the reigning champions producing an astonishing display of attacking football against the hapless Springvale outfit on Sunday at Bob Jane Stadium.
South opened strongly, attacking immediately from the outset, when a lovely run down the left hand flank by Trent Waterson saw the ex-Sunshine winger play the ball into the path of Nathan Caldwell, who hit his well-struck drive wide.
Springvale created their opening chance of the evening, when highly rated midfielder Igor Arsovski made a storming run past Arthur Tsonis on the right hand side and with venom hit an inventive strike at goal, only for the ball to go flying over the bar.
In the 11th minute, South struck the first major blow of the evening, when Ricky Diaco fed a dangerous ball into the path of Caldwell, which saw the highly fancied striker make up for his early miss and slam the ball into the back of the net.
Five minutes later, South almost double its advantage after Yusef Yusef was brought down inches outside the area. From the resulting free kick, Arthur Tsonis stepped up and hit a fantastic shot at goal with the ball swinging and grazing the outside of the post, going narrowly wide.
The danger that Tsonis was providing at the dead ball situations continued in the 21st minute, when a free kick from the area was whipped into the area causing mass confusion amongst the Springvale defence. With the defence bamboozled, the ball fell into the path of Ricky Diaco, who hit a weak shot into the arms of the acrobatic Nikola Adganovic, who saved Springvale between the sticks.
Springvale and Adganovic were unable to hold out South Melbourne for much longer, after a dazzling run by Brazilian maestro Fernando, lead to the midfielder hitting his initial shot into the waiting defence, before hitting the resultant rebound into the back of the net, doubling his side’s advantage.
From the resultant kickoff an interception by Ramazan saw the former Melbourne Victory defender storm his way down the right hand flank and play a ball into the area, finding Yusef, who hit a superb first time strike past the outstretched keeper and into the back of the net, giving South a 3 goal advantage after only 25 minutes of play.
Springvale, despite the early onslaught, continued to push forward in numbers in an attempt to get back into the game and might have pulled a goal back in the 31st and 33rd minutes, when the dangerous Arsovski on both occasions hit two creative strikes from outside the area. Both flew over the cross bar and into safety for South.
The acting South skipper for the evening, Tansel Baser, almost extended his sides advantage to 4 goals just before the break, hitting a blistering drive onto the target, however once again keeper Adganovic was in the way.
The final chance of the first half came to Springvale after a well weighted cross by Vladan Zoric found the unmarked Nick Papadopoulos, who was lurking at the back post with an open net in front of him. To the disbelief of all present, he mis-hit his header and missed the target completely, ensuring that South went into the break with a comfortable 3 goal cushion.
South commenced the second half in the same manner that it did the first, taking only five minutes to find a fourth goal of the evening. On this occasion, Yusef once again found himself in space on the right hand side and struck a superb cross into the back post for the waiting Waterson. Waterson hit his header across goal into the path of Caldwell, who bagged his second goal from only one metre out.
In the 65th minute a superb ball by Waterson completely opened up the Springvale defence leaving Diaco in acres of space with only the goalkeeper to beat. Diaco, who hadn’t yet scored, buried his chance and gave South a 5 goal advantage with 25 minutes still to play.
Springvale responded with a sublime move of their own, when a lovely build up of passes culminated with Rados Tomic finding speedy striker Goran Zoric.
Zoric who seemed to be in a non shooting position, got past a few defenders and hit a superb volley that curled and dipped inches wide of the target.
In the 82nd minute, South once again ripped a hole in the brittle Springvale defence, with substitute and Grand final hero Gianni De Nittis hitting an absolute wonder strike with his left foot from well outside the area, beating Adganovic at the near post and sending the strong home crowd into raptures with a contender for goal of the season.
Springvale almost grabbed a consolation goal near the end with the last shot of the game, when a free kick was awarded just outside the area, against South defender Tsonis.
Goran Mrdic stepped up and hit his strike onto the target, but unfortunately for Springvale his shot was tipped over the bar by Mladen Tosic and away from a goalkick.
South Melbourne defender Steve O’Dor had a stellar game in defence and was only complimentary about performance of the team.
“It was a sensational team display by the boys and we hope that we can continue such performances in the weeks and months ahead.” remarked O’Dor.
South Melbourne make the trip out to Epping Stadium to take on the Whittlesea Zebras on Monday night. Kick off is at 8.15pm.