Friday, 24 August 2007 12:34 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
South Melbourne’s slim hopes of finals football this season will be eliminated if John Anastasiadis’s men fail to get the maximum three points against the John Markovski-coached Sunhine Georgies.
South has failed to capitalize on the opening it was presented with by failing to get the necessary results against Fawkner and Altona in the past two weeks.
South’s inability to punish teams fighting relegation has ultimately left John Anastasiadis’s men with an uphill battle, needing to win their last three encounters to have any hope of defending their championship.
From Sunshine’s perspective, Sunday’s clash is a must win encounter in order to give the Western Suburbs-based club some breathing space in their fight to avoid relegation.
The Georgies ended a run of 3 matches without a win last Sunday away to cellar dwellers the Springvale White Eagles and currently find themselves in third last position.
Sunshine have few match winners but possess one of the league’s most creative players in ex-South Melbourne striker Anthony Magnacca who is the Georgies leading scorer on 6 goals to date.
Magnacca has the ability to open up defenses with his silky footwork and has been well supported by ex-South Melbourne youth player Alfonso Opazo who has netted five times this season.
In Martin John the Georgies also possess one of the best goalkeepers in the league. John was outstanding when both sides met earlier this season at Chaplin Reserve with the ex-Melbourne Knights custodian one of the best shot-stoppers in Australia.
In the South camp, Tansel Baser will most certainly miss again due to the hip flexor injury he sustained against Fawkner whilst Trent Waterson who didn’t feature at all last week against Altona will hopefully be back in line to play some minutes.
South were boosted by the return of Yusef Yusef and Fernando Moraes against the Magic with Brazilian Moraes showing some glimpses of the form and confidence that made him such a standout over the past two seasons.
Moraes has been out of sorts this season due to a variety of reasons. A niggling knee injury has prevented him from being fully fit whilst his stint in the A-League with the New Zealand Knights prevented the Brazilian maestro from having any sort of rest in the off-season.
With three games left in the season, South needs Moraes to stamp his undoubted class on matches to try and propel the Albert Park-based back into finals’ contention.
Moraes of course isn’t alone, consistency has been lacking from South’s play all season and with just three matches remaining, the entire squad must raise a level and become more clinical or else risk losing their Championship at the first hurdle.