Friday, 14 June 2013 9:22 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC hosts the Melbourne Knights on Sunday afternoon in what is the first derby between the two sides in 2013.
The home side goes into the match on the back of a three match unbeaten run in all competitions and having defeated Northcote City 3-2 in extra time in the fifth round of the State Knockout Cup on Queen’s Birthday Monday. The Melbourne Knights had last weekend off after losing their fourth round match 0-1 against Keilor Park at Somers Street on Friday 3 May.
South coach Peter Tsolakis used Monday’s Cup game to give extra game time to youngsters Andrew Cartanos (started) Matko Budimir (substitute 30’) and debutant Anthony Giannopoulos (substitute 108’). Fernando De Moraes also returned to the senior side for the first time since coming on as a substitute in the Victorian Premier League match against Richmond on Sunday 12 May and fellow veteran Andy Vlahos played over an hour on Monday, having come on after 53 minutes and playing during the extra-time period. Tsolakis rested Joe Keenan, Tyson Holmes and captain Luke Byles for the Cup game and will more than likely include all three on Sunday to replace some tired bodies that played the full 120 minutes last Monday. In important news for South, Alan Kearney is free to play this weekend following his red card against Northcote. The FFV ruled that because the red card occured in the State Knockout Cup, Kearney is to serve the automatic one game ban in the next Cup game, which will be the Quarter Final game against Preston Lions in late July.
The Melbourne Knights will be keen on getting back-to-back away victories against South, having won 1-2 at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday 20 May 2012. Adam Zilic flicked the ball into the back of the net from a free kick to open the scoring after 40 minutes before a Brad Norton header drew South level on 58 minutes. Yet it was the Knights that won all three points when former South player Yusuf Yusuf cut the ball back for Jacob Colosimo to score after 70 minutes. With the Knights celebrating their 60th birthday this year, they will be very motivated to spoil South’s 100% winning record at Lakeside Stadium in 2013 and at the same time overtake South on the Victorian Premier League ladder. South sit in third place on the ladder with 16 points from their eight Victorian Premier League matches, whilst the Knights are in sixth place (but level with fifth-placed Port Melbourne) with 14 points.
Both coaches (Tsolakis for South and Andrew Marth of the Melbourne Knights) played and scored many goals for their respective Clubs in this fixture in the former National Soccer League and both will no doubt be reminding their sides about the historical importance of the derby fixture and how vital the three points are.
Sunday’s derby kicks off at 3:00pm at Lakeside Stadium.