Thursday, 11 August 2011 6:47 PM
Last Sunday may have been D-Day but this Sunday is Derby Day as South Melbourne FC hosts Heidelberg United in the 2011 Elimination Final at Port Melbourne’s SS Anderson Reserve. The loser of this match will be eliminated from the finals series, with the winner to play the loser of Oakleigh and Hume City in the Semi Final next weekend.
In a remarkable final round of matches last Sunday, South came from 1-3 down to draw 3-3 with Northcote City, getting the draw it required to play finals football at Northcote’s expense. At the same time, Heidelberg took a 0-1 lead away at Springvale and were on course to secure a top two finish before three goals from Springvale not only caused the upset of the round but also sent Heidelberg crashing from the top two all the way down into fifth spot. Remarkably, South had gone from missing out on a finals place altogether to hosting an Elimination Final against the highly-facied Bergers.
Sunday’s match promises to be another exciting chapter in the history of the derbies between Heidelberg and South due to the obvious reason of it being a high-pressure match with plenty at stake and because there ultimately has to be a winner. The two sides have drawn their two Premier League matches against each other this season (2-2 at Olympic Village on Sunday 13 March and 0-0 at John Cain Memorial Park on Sunday 5 June) so bragging rights are up for grabs. To add further spice, South came from 0-1 down to draw 1-1 before defeating Heidelberg 2-1 in extra time in the Hellenic Cup final on Saturday 12 February, so the Bergers will be looking for revenge.
Rumours have been circulating during the week that prolific forward Osagie Ederaro will not play for Heidelberg on Sunday due to visa problems, however South will go about preparing to deal with him just in case Ederaro is cleared to play. It will certainly help if Ederaro is missing, as he scored against South at Olympic Village earlier in the season and has generally caused many problems for South’s defenders in previous matches. His individual return for 2011 is 12 goals from 21 matches and has been a stand-out for the Bergers this season along with fellow forward Saso Alexovski (11 goals from 15 matches). Another great player for the Bergers this season has been centre-half Craig Elvin, who has proven to be extremely difficult for South’s forwards to get past in previous matches.
South will be delighted with the form of its forwards in recent weeks, notably Jesse Krncevic who has scored four goals in three matches since returning from suspension. His two goals against Northcote last Sunday were both of high quality, with his chip over goalkeeper Charles Treacey being the standout goal. Fellow forward Steven Weir also had a great match against Northcote, setting up Krncevic with a wonderful through-ball for the 1-0 before scoring the equalising goal for the 3-3 just before halftime thanks to a superbly taken free kick from outside the area. Krncevic’s individual return this season has been ten goals from 17 matches and since signing from Hume in mid-season, Weir has chipped in with two goals from eight matches. Should those two continue their good form, South has a great chance of overcoming the Bergers on Sunday.
Sunday’s Elimination Final kicks off at 15:00 at SS Anderson Reserve in Port Melbourne.