Sunday, 13 June 2010 2:31 PM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC has returned to winning ways after recording a 0-1 win against the Bentleigh Greens in wet and cold conditions in a VPL catch-up match at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex on Friday night. Fernando De Moraes’ late winning goal proved to be the difference between the two sides and at the same time cemented the midfielder into the history books at South Melbourne.
Both sides had limited chances to open the scoring in the first half. Early in the game, Dean Piemonte’s 25 yard goal-bound effort was tipped over the bar by South goalkeeper Peter Zois and the Greens also hit the post before their goalkeeper Damir Salcin made a great save to deny Daniel Vasilevski, who had shot from the edge of the area. South suffered an injury scare just before the halftime break when inspirational centre-half Steven O’Dor hobbled off the ground and was replaced by the ever-reliable Eddie Cetkin.
The heavens opened in the second half, with driving rain making smooth free-flowing football difficult to implement. South created several half-chances to open the scoring but a combination of poor finishing and the slippery conditions kept the scoreline at 0-0. Despite creating a few nervous moments, the South defence kept Bentleigh relatively quiet throughout the half and Zois will be most pleased in earning his fourth clean sheet of the season.
The winning goal arrived five minutes from the end, when De Moraes pounced on the ball on the left side of the penalty area and sent a curling effort beyond Salcin into the top corner of the goal. The goal entered De Moraes into South Melbourne FC history by putting him equal tenth with David Gorrie (on 44 goals each) in South’s all-time leading goalscorers in League competition, a phenomenal effort considering his midfield position and that he still has several seasons ahead of him to move higher up the list. The goal also took De Moraes’ individual tally this season to 9 goals, four clear of second-placed Gianni De Nittis.
South should have had a second goal via a Bentleigh own goal only a minute after De Moraes opened the scoring. Some clever moment on the right by South culminated in a low, hard cross to the back post that saw Bentleigh’s Craig Smart’s attempted clearance somehow bounce off the back post and roll across the goal line before eventually being cleared by the Greens defence. The full-time whistle was blown shortly after and South were back to winning form after the surprise loss to Northcote City last Sunday.
The three points means that South has jumped three places on the League ladder to sit in sixth position, one point off the top five and with a game in hand still to play. Next Saturday, South Melbourne FC travel to Green Gully Reserve to take on Green Gully in a match that could see the club make significant inroads into the top five.
FINAL SCORE: BENTLEIGH GREENS 0-1 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 0-0)
Damir Salcin, Craig Smart, Sam De Vito, Con Anthopoulos, Alex Rojas, Adam Fadjevic, Tony Ouliaris (Craig Metcalfe 57′), Jack Webster, Johnny Sapazovski (Bradley Scott 77′), Dean Piemonte, Dean Fitzpatrick (Nicholas Schwal 80′)
Peter Zois, Rhodri Payne, Steven O’Dor (Eddie Cetkin 44′), Daniel Vasilevski, Joe Keenan, Gianni De Nittis (Hamid Basma 75′), Rama Tavsancioglu, Fernando De Moraes, Marinos Gasparis (Kyle Joryeff 60′), James Stefanou, Carl Recchia
(Scorer: Fernando De Moraes 85′)
SMFC Man of the Match: Joe Keenan
Venue: Kingston Heath Soccer Complex
Date: Friday 11 June 2010