Monday, 11 April 2011 12:02 AM
By John Kyrou (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
South Melbourne FC has maintained its position at the top of the Victorian Premier League ladder following a 1-0 victory over the Richmond Eagles at John Cain Memorial Park on Sunday afternoon. A Carl Recchia header after 72 minutes was enough for South to win the three points and end the round in first position for the second consecutive week.
South was strengthened for the match as it welcomed back captain and centre-half Steven O’Dor, right-back Steven Topalovic and forward Jesse Krncevic for the visit of the Eagles, with all three players missing the previous week’s 0-2 win at St Albans. Richmond’s starting eleven from last Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Bentleigh remained unchanged except for Jason Hoffman being replaced by Chris O’Hare.
South dominated the first half but could not put away its chances. Kyle Joryeff had two magnificent opportunities to open the scoring, firstly when he headed a Daniel Vasilevski corner over the bar and secondly when he put the ball wide of Stjepan Gal’s goal after being put through one-on-one by Krncevic. Daniel Vasilevski also had an opportunity to score when he hit a stinging shot just over Gal’s crossbar. Despite the opportunities created, South was still level at the halftime break. On a sour note, O’Dor was substituted during the halftime break and replaced by Bobby Russell after the captain picked up an injury just before the end of the first half.
In the second half, Richmond was very lucky not to go down to 10 men when Erhan Karahan went flying into Steven Topalovic from behind with his studs raised. Despite the mass protests from the home supporters for a red card, Karahan was extremely fortunate to continue playing as he was only cautioned for the tackle. South’s frustrations grew even further when Krncevic was put through one-on-one but was penalised for being offside when he appeared to be onside. Minutes later, Joryeff committed a rather crude late tackle and was perhaps lucky to have only been given a caution. The coaching staff reacted to diffuse the situation by replacing him with Kamal Ibrahim.
Despite the growing frustration, South continued to put pressure on Richmond and eventually got the goal they had been after, when Recchia rose at the near post to head Ibrahim’s cross into the back of the net. It was not the prettiest of goals and it was not the best of matches to watch, however Recchia’s goal meant that South achieved what it had set out to do and that was win a fourth successive match, keep a second consecutive clean sheet and remain on top of the Victorian Premier League.
In the Under 21’s match played prior to the seniors, South Melbourne FC defeated Richmond 5-1.
South’s next match is away to Hume City, with kick-off scheduled for 15:00 at Broadmeadows Valley Park next Sunday afternoon.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 1-0 RICHMOND EAGLES (HT: 0-0)
1-0: Carl Recchia (72′)
South Melbourne FC
3. Rhodri PAYNE, 4. Steven O’DOR (33. Bobby RUSSELL 46′), 5. Daniel VASILEVSKI, 6. Steven TOPALOVIC, 8. Carl RECCHIA, 11. Jesse KRNCEVIC, 13. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 15. Fernando DE MORAES (16. Trent WATERSON 88′), 18. Marinos GASPARIS, 21. Zaim ZENELI, 25. Kyle JORYEFF (14. Kamal IBRAHIM 65′)
1. Stjepan GAL, 3. Erhan KARAHAN, 4. Ross ANTONIADIS, 5. Mitchell BISSINGER, 6. Dimitri TSIARAS, 7. Timmy PURCELL (11. Mate ETEROVIC 75′), 9. Michael CATALANO, 10. Chris O’HARE (19. Evan BATSIS 75′), 13. Antun KOVACIC, 16. Stuart WILSON (2. Andrew VIOLA 85′), 18. Michael FERRANTE
SMFC Man of the Match: Carl Recchia
Venue: John Cain Memorial Park
Date: Sunday 10 April 2011