Friday, 11 March 2011 11:36 AM
By Paul Mavroudis
After a gutsy 2-1 win over the Bentleigh Greens in Round 3 of the Victorian Premier League, this Sunday evening will see South Melbourne FC meet old rival Heidelberg United at the Olympic Village. In the first leg of a difficult two week spell away from home ‚the always intriguing fixture away against the Oakleigh Cannons follows in the next round. South Melbourne FC will be looking to break a long running drought, by overcoming Heidelberg United in a league fixture for the first time since 2006.
Since that 2006 mid season 3-1 win by South at Lakeside, Heidelberg United has not lost a Victorian Premier League match against South Melbourne FC, and the task ahead of the visiting side will be made that much more difficult by the absence of Kliment Taseski. Taseski, on loan from Melbourne Heart, has impressed in his short time with South, but he will be serving the first match of a three-match suspension after receiving a straight red card against the Greens. Doubts may also exist over the fitness of midfielder Fernando De Moraes, who came off injured for the second consecutive week after severe challenges.
In addition to its increasing injury problems, and apart from the long term injuries to midfielders Joe Keenan and Yianni Galanos, Marinos Gasparis has also been in the wars – South must also have continuing concerns about its defensive structures. Despite holding Bentleigh to mostly set piece attacks last week, Heidelberg United will almost certainly put out a far more attacking tactical approach, which South has thus far been unable to adequately nullify.
South Melbourne FC will be buoyed however by their new found ability to score goals, with 11 goals scored in just four matches, with the load being spread evenly amongst several players. The visitors will also take encouragement from the recent Hellenic Cup final victory over Heidelberg United, a 2-1 win in extra time. In that game South Melbourne FC had to come from behind to take the trophy, and the side may have accordingly found a measure of mental toughness to add to its obvious talent.
Coming up against an opponent tipped as a likely finals contender, still smarting after a loss last week against Hume City, and looking forward to keeping up a long undefeated streak against its eternal foe, South Melbourne FC will need every ounce of that mental toughness to extract a result that’s been five years in the making. Too long for a club that once prided itself on the overwhelming dominance it held in this fixture.
Kick-off is at 6pm