Thursday, 2 June 2011 12:33 PM
South Melbourne FC has an enormous opportunity to turn its 2011 Victorian Premier League campaign around when it hosts Heidelberg United in the big derby at John Cain Memorial Park on Sunday afternoon. The match pits the Victorian Premier League’s third placed team against fourth and should other results go favourably, a South win could remarkably see the Club finish in equal top spot at the conclusion of the round.
It has been no secret that South’s form in May has suffered considerably due to a range of factors. The ‘mad month of May’ term that is used so frequently in British football also applied in South’s case, as the Club struggled through suspensions and injuries as well as a dip in form to secure only 7 points from a possible 18. However, in more positive news, a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Bentleigh last Friday night was turned around with a 6-0 thumping of the VTC on Tuesday night, thanks to a hat trick from Daniel Vasilevski, a double from captain Steven O’Dor and a first SMFC goal by mid-season signing Junior Camargo. Although the VTC did not present the hardest of opposition, the important two things that came out of Tuesday’s victory was the fact that South were back into positive goal difference and that the side had a real sense of hunger and determination to win. In further positive news, vice captain Carl Recchia is a chance to play against the Bergers following the nasty rolled ankle he sustained in the loss against Hume City on 17 April.
However if there is one side that would be super confident in defeating South, it would be Heidelberg. The Bergers have enjoyed a remarkable record against their big rivals in Victorian Premier League competition, having not lost against South since 21st May 2006, when goals from George Tzirtis (29′), Fernando De Moraes (53′) and Vaughan Coveny (75′) gave South a 3-1 victory at Lakeside. Although South has frequently defeated Heidelberg in Hellenic Cup battles since that day, the Bergers have had the upper hand in the Victorian Premier League, much to the frustration of South supporters. In the corresponding fixture last season, a 91st minute injury time header by Recchia gave South a 1-1 draw against Heidelberg at Lakeside. Earlier this season, Marinos Gasparis headed home in injury-time to secure a point for South in the 2-2 draw at Olympic Village.
The Bergers will be without prolific forward Osagie Ederaro, who is still suspended following a red card received a few weeks ago against Bentleigh. South was delighted to see Sebastian Petrovic start and play an hour against the VTC, with Kliment Taseski appearing off the bench. Both players have returned into the side after missing a considerable part of May following ankle and hamstring injuries. With their inclusion as well as Recchia’s return being imminent, coupled with the determination shown by the side on Tuesday night, South will be going into Sunday’s match confident of upsetting the Bergers. The only blight is that champion midfielder Fernando De Moraes will still be sidelined for at least another couple of weeks after tearing his hamstring a few weeks ago.
Sunday’s match kicks off at 3:00pm at John Cain Memorial Park. South supporters are encouraged to attend in big numbers to give their Club as much support as possible to try and break the five year hoodoo against the Bergers.