Saturday, 31 May 2008 9:58 AM
By George Kouroumalis
South Melbourne must re-group after last week’s derby loss as it faces Coburg United on Saturday at Knights Stadium.
Coburg are expected to provide South with a tough opposition, having already defeated the Blues in round 2.
South will go into the game with the match and result from round 2 fresh in their minds and will be intent on ensuring that they can extract some revenge for that particular game.
Coach Michael Michalakopoulos will have some selection headaches ahead of the contest, with some key players attempting to come back from injury.
Dean Anastasiadis is one of these players and will be trying to prove his fitness to reclaim his position into the starting line-up ahead of Nik Jelic. Thankfully for South, Jelic has been able to step up for the club throughout Anastasiadis’ absence, playing well on two occasions so far for the Blues.
Just in front of the goalkeeper, South will go into the game with a standard back four of Sam Poutakidis, Shane Nunes, Adam Van Dommele and Steven O’dor. All four defenders have been quite consistent in the last month and will be looked upon to shut down the potent Coburg attacking third.
In the middle area, South may go into the game with Rama Tavsancioglu in that defensive midfield position. This is reliant on the vice-captain overcoming a leg injury that left him sidelined last weekend. Should “Rama” recover in time for Saturday’s game, he will be joined in the midfield by Goran Zoric and Fernando De Moraes, as well as one of either Antonio La Verde and new signing Scott MacNicol.
MacNicol returns to South after one and a half seasons at Oakleigh, with the former championship winning midfielder already playing on 58 occasions for the famous blue and whites in two seasons previously with the club. By acquiring such a player, South will be provided with hard working, determined and experienced player that will further bolster the squad.
In attack, South will go into contest with Ricky Diaco and Gianni De Nittis. Both players will be keen to get on the score sheet as South strives for a vital away victory.
As with the game in round 2, Coburg will provide South with a very tough and difficult opponent, with the Foxtel Cup newcomer keen to take another 3 points from the Blues.
Leading the charge for Coburg will be former South club legend and championship winning player Tansel Baser. Baser has reclaimed a starting position in recent weeks after recovering from serious groin surgery. He will provide Coburg with not only an experienced and calm player in the centre of the park, but a player who will have a strong knoweledge of South, having played 106 games in 7 years for the club. South will need to stop his influence in the middle of the park if they are to take maximum points.
Joining Baser in the talented midfield area will be another former South player in Anthony Magnacca. As with Baser, Magnacca will be keen to perform well against his old club, with the former Gold Medal winner expected to impose himself on the contest and push forward whenever possible to assist his strike force.
Taking all this into consideration, Saturday’s game for will be crucial if South are to push up and contest for a top six position. A win will see the Blues within one game of the top six, while a win for Coburg will see them jump clear of the relegation zone. Kickoff is at 6pm.
South Melbourne FC vs Coburg United
When: Saturday, May 31st
Where: Knights Stadium
Kick-off: 6pm (Under 21s at 4pm)
Projected Starting line-ups
Dean Anastasiadis (GK/C), Sam Poutakidis, Rama Tavsancioglu, Adam Van Dommele, Steven O’Dor, Shane Nunes, Goran Zoric, Tony La Verde, Gianni De Nittis, Scott MacNicol, Ricky Diaco
Tomas Kovar (GK), Serder Pir, Sime Kovacevic, Brendan Beni, Dragi Nastevski, Mustafa Mustafa (C), Anthony Magnacca, Tansel Baser, Andrew Vlahos, Alexander Josifovski, Nicholas Lazarevski
Head to head
Played : 1
South Melbourne : 0
Coburg United : 1
Draw : 0
When: Sunday, 22 February 2008
Where: Bob Jane Stadium
Score: Coburg United 2 defeated South Melbourne 1
Form in 2008 (last 3 games)
South Melbourne: Win, Win, Loss
Coburg United: Win, Loss, Draw