Friday, 26 February 2010 10:54 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC opens its 2010 Victorian Premier League season with an extremely difficult trip to Paisley Park to face reigning back-to-back Champions Altona Magic.
South go into the match on the back of a reasonably successful pre-season. The Blues won through to the final of the Hellenic Cup competition following an undefeated run in the group stages and wins over Northcote City and Heidelberg in the knock-out rounds. The final against newly-promoted Bentleigh was a tight affair, with the Greens prevailing 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out following a 0-0 draw in normal and extra time.
South travels to Paisley Park knowing too well that statistically it will be up for an extremely tough match. This is in reference to Altona winning all of the five contests between the two sides at the venue since South rejoined the VPL in 2005. The last of those encounters was in the second last round of last season, when Altona put three goals past Tommi Tomich, who had a hand in one of those goals when his poor clearance fell for Carl Recchia to easily score.
In a strange twist, it will be Tomich who will more than likely line up between the posts for the home side, while Recchia will more than likely play for South, following both players switching clubs during the off-season. Ex-South boys Jose Vasquez, Andrew Sfetkopoulos and Danni Radojicic have all joined Tomich at Paisley Park. South will play with some ex-Altona boys, with Recchia, Peter Zois, Daniel Vasilevski and Stiven Mrkela all looking for a place in the starting eleven for the away side.
South coach Vaughan Coveny has a near full squad to choose from. New signings Recchia, Zois, Vasilevski, James Stefanou and Marinos Gasparis have all impressed during the pre-season and Hellenic Cup. Keenan has been one of the standouts, looking extremely dangerous with some silky touches and sharp shooting as well as scoring two impressive goals in the later stages of the Hellenic Cup.
The match kicks off at 3pm on Sunday afternoon at Paisley Park.