Friday, 12 July 2013 9:34 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC is seeking to end a run of three successive defeats when it hosts the Southern Stars at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It is a crucial match in South’s season, as a victory could see South end the round back in the top five, should other results go its way.
South goes into the match having lost 1-3 against Green Gully at Lakeside Stadium last Sunday afternoon. Despite leveling thanks to Andy Vlahos’ wonder free kick on the half hour, South ran out of legs as Gully scored two second-half goals and cruised to victory. Shaun Kelly was already injured before the Gully match, meaning that Under-21s player James Karvellis (playing his first full game in the seniors) and Dimi Tsiaras made up a makeshift centre-half pairing. What made matters worse for new coach Chris Taylor was that Tsiaras sustained a hamstring injury after 70 minutes and had to be replaced by another Under-21s player in Erdem Ozcagli. The positive news is that both players – particularly Karvelis – impressed and may be used again by Taylor against Southern Stars.
More positive news was the mid-season transfer window signings of Nicholas Epifano and Iqi Jawadi from Dandenong Thunder during the week. It is unclear whether both players will be used in Sunday’s match but they will no doubt feature in the coming weeks. Taylor will be keen on all his players gelling together straight away against the Stars in a match that South simply must win considering it has not won a League match since defeating Oakleigh Cannons at Lakeside Stadium on 26 May. With tough games against Bentleigh Greens and Dandenong Thunder to come, it is of upmost importance that South defeats the Stars on Sunday.
The Southern Stars have only picked up two points from their opening 12 matches this season and were comprehensively defeated 0-3 by South at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex earlier on in the season on 13 April. However the Stars will be boosted by the fact that they defeated South 0-2 in the corresponding match played between the two sides at Lakeside Stadium on 4 May 2012. On that occasion, goals in each half from Mark Leech and former South player Yanni Galanos undid a very disappointing South side. Former South captain Rama Tavsancioglu will feature on Sunday and will no doubt be keen to help his side win their first game of the season against one of his former clubs.
Sunday’s match kicks off at 3PM at Lakeside Stadium.