Sunday, 27 April 2008 7:29 PM
By George Kouroumalis and John Kyrou | Photo by Paul Touliatos
South Melbourne will be looking to build on its huge win last weekend when it travels to Altona on Monday night in a highly anticipated Round 10 clash.
This will be a very difficult assignment for South as the club has lost every match at Paisley Park since returning to the Premier League competition in 2005.
South coach Michael Michalakopoulos will be keen to keep the same starting line-up that destroyed Fawkner 6-2 at Bob Jane Stadium last Sunday.
Captain and inspirational leader Dean Anastasiadis will be called upon once again to start between the sticks. Anastasiadis will need to be fully focused against a potent and dangerous Altona attack in order for South to get anything from the game.
Anastasiadis’ defence will once again be lead by Steven O’Dor and Sam Poutakidis, with both players needing to play their part in thwarting any potential attacking forays forward. Joining these two in the back four will be Shane Nunes and Adam Van Dommele, who have both cemented their starting positions in recent weeks.
In the midfield, Rama Tavsancioglu will once again be assigned the defensive midfield role, a position that he has excelled in since being given the role a fortnight ago. He will provide South with experience in the central area as well as a player that will support his back four when needed. In the more attacking midfield roles, South will once again go into the game with Bill Natsioulas and Goran Zoric in the wider positions, whilst Fernando will be in the centre and providing the front two with constant support. The Brazilian was in sublime form against Fawkner, scoring once and acting as a provider on numerous occasions in a vintage display. He will be keen to continue this good form on Monday.
Up front, South will once again go into the game with Gianni De Nittis and Nathan Caldwell in the starting line-up. Both players earnt their starting positions after having superb games last weekend. De Nittis excelled in his new number 9 shirt and won the man of the match honours in a two-goal display, whilst Caldwell scored his second goal of the season against Fawkner and looked to be gaining more confidence.
Whilst South will be going into the match with some confidence, their Altona opponents will be no pushover. The Magic possesses one of the most talented squads in the Foxtel Cup, with the Vlado Tortevski-coached side having the services of the most consistent and dangerous striker in the state in Michael Curcija. The 30 year old is well known by South fans, having played six seasons for the blues in the NSL, amassing 143 games and scoring on 59 occasions. So far in 2008 he has scored 7 times and will no doubt be looking at adding more to his total against his old club. Curcija will be partnered up front with the elusive Henry Fa’Arodo, who is also a proven goal scorer at VPL level and will be one of the key players in the opposition line-up that South will need to shut down.
In the star-studded midfield area, Altona will go into the game with new recruits Pece Siveski and another ex-South player in Carl Recchia. Both players joined Altona in the summer and so far have combined together exceptionally well in the centre of the park.
Leading the defensive unit will be journeyman Con Anthopoulos, who also joined the Magic in the summer and is another former South player. Anthopoulos will provide the Magic with a calm and collected defender that is capable of playing a role in shutting down any attacking South foray. He will be joined by the very highly rated Doug Milardovic and another former South defender in Steven Laurie in a well-regarded back four.
With such an experienced, dangerous and highly rated opponent, South will need to be on their game to take anything from Paisley Park. A win by South will see them push up the table and be in sight of the sixth-placed Magic that currently sit 6 points above South. Kick-off is at 8.30pm.
Altona Magic vs South Melbourne FC
When: Monday, April 28th
Where: Paisley Park, Altona
Kick-off: 8.30pm (Under 21s at 6.30pm)
Projected Starting line-ups
Dean Anastasiadis (GK/C), Sam Poutakidis, Rama Tavsancioglou, Adam Van Dommele, Steven O’Dor, Shane Nunes, Goran Zoric, Bill Natsioulas, Gianni De Nittis, Fernando De Moraes, Nathan Caldwell
Bojo Jevdjevic (GK), Stiven Mrkela (C), Con Anthopoulos, Steve Laurie, Doug Mladenovic, Henry Fa’Arodo, Carl Recchia, Michael Curcija, Pece Siveski, Agim Sherifovski, Pece Cergovski
Head to head (Games since 2005)
Played : 8 (includes finals)
South Melbourne : 3
Altona Magic : 5
Draw : 0
When: Saturday, 18 August 2007
Where: Paisley Park, Altona
Score: Altona Magic 1 defeated South Melbourne 0
Form in 2008 (last 3 games)
South Melbourne: Loss, Loss, Win
Altona Magic: Win, Loss, Win