Friday, 14 May 2010 9:37 AM
By John Kyrou (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
South Melbourne FC welcomes Sunshine George Cross to its second ‘home away from home’ at John Cain Memorial Park on Sunday, in what is looming as a must-win game for the club. South is in the top four but has suffered two defeats in a row. At the same time, there are several clubs including George Cross that are just behind South on the ladder and are keen to overtake.
South suffered an unfortunate 2-1 defeat at ‘home’ to Oakleigh at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex last Saturday, whilst last Monday George Cross fought back from a one goal deficit to claim a 1-1 draw against Dandenong Thunder at Knights Stadium. That point gave George Cross the same number of points as South in 2010 and as a result Sunshine are sitting in fifth position. This means that South is due to play its fourth match in a row against a top five opponent this coming weekend.
Sunshine as a side will be an extremely physical and tough opponent to break down and as a result South’s players will need to be patient in trying to break down and score past Martin John and his tough defence. A particularly fascinating showdown will be between John and South’s Fernando De Moraes, who caused a moment of controversy on the final day of the VPL season last year when he threw the ball back to John after an injury, before taking the ball off him and scoring the goal that qualified South for finals football.
The matches between the two sides are always well-fought and Sunshine has enjoyed a reasonably good record against South since the two sides began meeting again in the VPL from 2005. Until Fernando’s cheeky winning goal last year, South had not defeated George Cross since the 0-2 victory at Chaplin Reserve in 2007. The match will be the 56th League meeting between the teams, with South winning 25, George Cross 16 and with 15 draws.
Three points are absolutely crucial for South as this is the final League match that the Blues play before departing for Singapore to play Gombak United in the first round of the RHB Singapore Cup on May 26. If other results go the right way, South could end the round in second position, at worst the side could find itself out of the top five. Either way, a positive result is needed to get the League season back on track and to enter the Cup in reasonable form.
The match against Sunshine George Cross kicks off at 3pm on Sunday at John Cain Memorial Park in Northcote.
Please note that due to SMFC’s participation in the RHB Singapore Cup:
- The round 12 match against Altona Magic is postponed from 23 May to 4 July
- The round 13 match against Bentleigh Greens is postponed from 28 May to 11 June