Saturday, 19 March 2011 1:39 PM
By John Kyrou (Photo by Anita Milas, courtesy of Goal Weekly)
South Melbourne FC has won for the second straight season at Jack Edwards Reserve following a deserved 2-1 victory against Oakleigh on Friday night. A volley from Marinos Gasparis and a header from captain Steven O’Dor was enough to give South the victory.
South went into the match bolstered by the fact that new signing Ljubo Miličević had finally been cleared to play for the Club. Miličević went straight into the starting eleven and slotted in next to O’Dor at centre-half, with Steven Topalovic shifted to right back. Goalkeeper Zaim Zenelli, who had been substituted onto the field last Sunday against Heidelberg after 70 minutes following a head injury to Stefaan Sardelic, started his first Victorian Premier League match for South. Immediately the defence looked much steadier and stable, with Miličević and O’Dor winning practically every aerial ball and Zenelli hardly tested during the game.
The away side opened the scoring after four minutes with a wonderful volley by Gasparis, who scored his second goal in successive weeks following his injury-time equalising goal away at Heidelberg last Sunday. However, the lead only lasted ten minutes, when former South forward Ricky Diaco beat Zenelli with a low shot from a free kick that managed to sneak through the defensive wall. Shortly before the halftime break, Gasparis hit another stinging shot from outside the box just wide of Peter Zois’ goal, whilst at the other end Oakleigh nearly took the lead after a shot took a wicked deflection before hitting Zenelli’s crossbar and going out to safety.
South regained the lead shortly after the halftime break. A free kick taken on the left side of the box by Fernando De Moraes found an unmarked O’Dor, who easily beat Zois with his free header. The away side should have wrapped the game up shortly after when Jesse Krncevic rounded Zois and cut the ball back for Gasparis, however with an open goal the midfielder blasted the ball over the crossbar. Krncevic had presented real problems for the Cannons defence by being a huge presence up forward for South.
Defensively, Miličević and O’Dor easily dealt with aerial balls played into the area by Oakleigh. Zenelli was kept quiet for most of the game but when called upon, was able to comfortably deal with high balls into the box. Despite this, Oakleigh still should have equalised deep into injury time with a header that went wide of Zenelli’s near post. The referee’s final whistle moments later condemned the Cannons to their first Victorian Premier League loss for the season and stretched South’s unbeaten run to three Victorian Premier League matches in a row.
South Melbourne’s next match is a derby at home against the Melbourne Knights. The match kicks off next Sunday 27 March at 5:00pm at John Cain Memorial Park.
FULL TIME: OAKLEIGH CANNONS 1-2 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 1-1)
0-1: Marinos Gasparis (3’)
1-1: Ricky Diaco (14’)
1-2: Steven O’Dor (57’)
1. Peter ZOIS, 2. James CUMMING, 6. Rama TAVSANCIOGLU, 7. Bonel ABRADOVIC (25. Craig GOODWIN 88′), 8. James ROBINSON, 10. Ricky DIACO (14. Melvin BECKET 82′), 12. Luke WALKER (13. Bill DAMIANOS 72′), 16. Frank LAGANA, 18. Stephen HATZIKIRIAZIS, 19. Dane MILOVANOVIC, 23. Anthony BRAN
South Melbourne FC
3. Rhodri PAYNE, 4. Steven O’DOR, 5. Daniel VASILEVSKI (33. Bobby RUSSELL 77′), 6. Steven TOPALOVIC, 8. Carl RECCHIA, 11. Jesse KRNCEVIC, 15. Fernando DE MORAES (14. Kamal IBRAHIM 82′), 17. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 18. Marinos GASPARIS (19. Leigh MINOPOULOS 90′), 21. Zaim ZENELI, 23. Sebastian PETROVIC
SMFC Man of the Match: Steven O’Dor
Venue: Jack Edwards Reserve
Date: Friday 18 March 2011