Friday, 29 June 2012 8:38 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC travels to Epping Stadium for the second time this season to face the Moreland Zebras on Sunday afternoon in what is shaping up to be a six-point match. A South win could see it pushing to be back in the top five, whereas a loss could see South slip dangerously towards the relegation zone in what has been a very up-and-down season to date.
South will go into the game in winning form, having defeated Heidelberg United 2-1 in the traditional derby at Lakeside Stadium last Sunday evening. It was the Club’s first win in any competition for six weeks and lifted South to eighth spot on the Victorian Premier League ladder. Moreland are still second-last, however the Zebras have defeated Heidelberg United and Hume City in the last two rounds and Joe Palatsides’ side are certainly looking to continue their winning form against South and keep progressing up the ladder.
The away side certainly has winning form against Moreland in recent times, having defeated the Zebras 4-0 at Lakeside Stadium in the opening Victorian Premier League round back in March. On that day, a double from Kyle Joryeff in the first half and late strikes from Jason Trifiro and Dimi Hatzimouratis rounded out a comfortable win. Moreland (formerly known as Whittlesea Zebras) are new to the Victorian Premier League this season (having won State League One in 2011) but have been in the division as recently as 2009, when they were relegated along with Preston Lions. In 2009 South played both fixtures against the Zebras at Lakeside Stadium, so it has not been since 2008 that South has travelled to Epping Stadium to face the Zebras. In the last meeting between the two sides at Epping, a Tony La Verde strike from just outside the area on 70 minutes was enough for South to earn a 0-1 victory on Sunday 11 May 2008.
Pending selection, Marinos Gasparis is poised to play his 50th League match for South on Sunday. ‘Gaspa’ joined South in 2010 from Heidelberg and has proved to be an important player in the side over the past three seasons. Along with his 49 League matches thus far, he has also scored five goals, with the most notable being the injury-time header that earnt South a point against Heidelberg at the Olympic Village on Sunday 13th March 2011 and the half volley against Oakleigh at Jack Edwards Reserve the following Friday night (18th March). South Melbourne FC congratulates Marinos Gasparis on reaching 50 games for the Club and wishes him the best for the rest of the season. Sunday’s match kicks off at 3:00pm on Sunday afternoon at Epping Stadium.