South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Heidelberg United v South Melbourne FC – Match Preview

Heidelberg United v South Melbourne FC – Match Preview

Saturday, 23 June 2007 2:36 AM

By Michael Tsoukalis

South Melbourne travels to Olympic Village on Sunday coming up against perennial rival Heidelberg United.

The Bergers have been going through a rough patch having not won for a month and having a match abandoned for floodlight failure. As a result, Ioannis Katsakis’s men see themselves sitting in 11th position, dangerously near the relegation zone and in desperate need of a win.

Conversely, three consecutive wins for South Melbourne sees John Anastasiadis’s men in third place with a win no doubt solidifying their position in the top six and helping push for a top two birth.

Sunday’s match serves as the last one for inspirational young defender Steven O’Dor who links up with A-League club the Wellington Phoenix after the encounter.

O’Dor has been a fine servant of the club over the past three seasons and has developed into a quality centre-back with a massive future ahead.

Recent poor form aside, the Bergers posses some of the best attacking talent in the league. Player like Nikola Sabljak, Andy Vlahos, Nick Marinos and Sydney FC recruit Luka Glavas all know how to find the back of the net and have all played at National League level.

Players like Pasi Schwalger, Anthony Ouliaris, Jim Drossos and Daniel Jones are all proven Premier League players and round off quite an impressive and experienced lineup.

In the South camp, niggling injuries are being managed by Vasilios Natsioulas, Ricky Diaco, Tansel Baser and Adam Van Dommele with Natsioulas and Baser having played a half or so against the Victory midweek, they may struggle to pull up for Sunday. Young midfielder Nick Curtis is still 2-3 weeks away form returning.

A pleasing aspect of South’s recent run of good form has been the non-reliance on last season’s best and fairest Fernando Moraes. The Brazilian maestro has been struggling for form as of late but the emergence of Vasilios Natsioulas in an attacking central midfield role has helped ease South’s concern in this area. That said, the prospect of a return to form for Moraes can only bode well for South who even without Moraes in sublime form are the league’s top scoring team.

In the opening fixture of the season both sides played an entertaining three-all draw with South conceding three very poor goals. The arrival of young Socceroo goalkeeperMitch Langerak has brought a heightened level of confidence to the South defence with the young shop stopper showing a level of maturity beyond his 18 years.

Langerak combined with the gradual emergence of young midfielder Jose Vasquez have added an extra layer of depth and quality to South’s squad at the right time of the season.

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