Thursday, 20 August 2009 3:33 PM
By John Kyrou
Epping Stadium plays hosts to the VPL Elimination Final on Sunday afternoon, when Hume City plays off against South Melbourne FC in a do-or-die clash. The winner of the contest will face the losing team in the Altona-Green Gully Qualifying Final, whilst for the losing side their season will come to an end on Sunday.
Hume will be hurting from the fact that a 0-1 home loss against Oakleigh in the final round saw them slide from second on the table to finish the regular home & away season in fourth spot. A point would have been enough for Hume to finish second and win the double chance however Bonel Obradovic’s 88th minute strike saw the Cannons take all three points and Hume’s double chance opportunity go up in smoke.
South went into the final round last weekend needing a win over Sunshine George Cross to confirm a spot in the finals. The performance wasn’t the greatest but it was the result that counted as Fernando De Moraes’ cheeky ‘interception’ of the ball off Georgies keeper Martin John and subsequent goal was enough to earn the side a 1-0 win and with it a place in the finals for the first time since 2006. The side finished in fifth position in the league but were an agonising one point off second spot, with too many draws during the season costing the team dearly in the end.
South won the first meeting between the two sides this season, when goals from Vaughan Coveny and Sebastian Petrovic were enough for the Blues to hold off ten-man Hume to win the inaugural ANZAC Day Cup. The match was also memorable as Coveny notched up his 100th league goal for the club. The return match at Bob Jane Stadium was a scrappy contest and it was Hume who took the honours thanks to a Zoran Petrevski penalty fourteen minutes from time. Gianni De Nittis nearly rescued South a point deep into injury time but his fierce shot flew inches wide.
The key man in this contest will undoubtedly be Hume’s Tansel Baser. The two-time South championship player was best afield when Hume defeated South at Bob Jane Stadium, with his passing and positioning clearly a class above everyone else. Baser’s influence needs to be stifled by South or else the side will be in big danger of being eliminated on Sunday. The other obstacle in the way of a South victory will be goalkeeper Lupce Acevski, with the big custodian always excelling against South and having only conceded 16 goals this season.
Despite finishing the regular season as the second-highest scoring side in the league, South has had a lean scoring record in its last month of football. Goran Zoric (10 goals), Gianni De Nittis (6) and Coveny (5) need to quickly re-discover their early season form when they would score freely and frequently. Despite having an inconsistent season, Fernando has scored 7 goals thus far and will again be relied upon to create something out of nothing like he did against George Cross.
Kick-off for Sunday’s crucial match is at 15.00 at Epping Stadium. If the match is drawn, extra time will be played and then penalties if the scores are still level.
Hume City v South Melbourne FC – Overview
Round 8 – Saturday 25/04/09 @ Broadmeadows Valley Park
Hume City 1 (Thompson 68’) def by South Melbourne 2 (Coveny 43’, Petrovic 65’)
Round 19 – Sunday 26/07/09 @ Bob Jane Stadium
South Melbourne 0 def by Hume City 1 (Petrevski pen 76’)
South wins: 2
Hume wins: 2