Thursday, 2 April 2009 10:44 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC will host the Richmond Eagles on Sunday in arguably the match of round 6 in the Victorian Premier League. The high-flying Eagles will travel to Bob Jane Stadium to face a red-hot South that has won three matches in a row.
Along with newly-promoted Dandenong Thunder, Richmond has started season 2009 in outstanding form and will enter Sunday’s contest as deserved league leaders. The Eagles have been undefeated in their opening five matches, with four wins and a draw to show for their efforts. The most recent result was a 5-1 hammering of the Preston Lions at Kevin Bartlett Reserve that nearly made history for the Eagles. Had Blaze Georgioski not scored a consolation goal for the Lions in the 90th minute, the Eagles would have joined Green Gully in being the only teams to record 5 clean sheets in the opening five rounds of the season since the old Victorian State League was re-named the Victorian Premier League in 1991.
In contrast, South cannot stop leaking goals, conceding a single goal in every one of its 5 games in 2009. However, the Blues cannot stop scoring at the other end as well, as evidenced in the last three rounds with 12 goals in 3 games. As a result, South are the highest goal scorers after 5 rounds but more importantly the team has consolidated fifth spot in the league. A win on Sunday can potentially lift South into third spot, making the match very important for the home side heading into the Easter break. The 1-3 victory against Whittlesea Zebras on Tuesday night was the perfect result in the lead-up for Sunday’s game. The ever-dangerous Goran Zoric’s opening goal against the Zebras meant he now joins Heidelberg’s Osagie Ederaro at the top of the individual goal scoring charts with 5 goals from 5 games.
For statistics lovers, the home side will go into the match with several milestones on the verge of being broken. If selected, captain Rama Tavsancioglu will make his 99th senior appearance for the club, with Futsalroo Fernando De Moraes just behind on 96 appearances. Former Kiwi international and South legend Vaughan Coveny will break 100 league goals for South if he can find the back of the net twice against Richmond, while five goals from the home side will bring up 400 South Melbourne goals at Bob Jane Stadium in 195 matches at the venue.
Richmond has been a difficult opponent for South since they were promoted into the VPL in 2006. Though South has won four of the six encounters between the two, it has always been by a single goal. Richmond has managed to taste victory at Bob Jane Stadium, winning the 2007 encounter 0-1 after ex-South goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak spilt a low cross to allow Steven Burton to score the winning goal. In the corresponding fixture last season, a 48th minute Gianni De Nittis goal was enough to give lowly South a confidence-boosting 1-0 win over an in-form Richmond side.
The match kicks off at 4pm on Sunday at Bob Jane Stadium. South supporters are strongly encouraged to attend and lend their valued support to the home team in its quest to beat the league leaders and consolidate the club’s position in the top five.