Thursday, 22 August 2013 2:18 PM
By John Kyrou (Chris Taylor quotes obtained by Football Federation Victoria reporter Matthew McNamara)
Green Gully progressed to the 2013 State Knockout Cup Final after defeating South Melbourne FC 1-0 in the first Semi Final at SS Anderson Reserve on Wednesday night. Jason Hayne’s winning goal on 57 minutes proved to be the difference between the two sides as Gully now advances to play the winner of Dandenong Thunder and Sunshine George Cross in the Cup Final on Saturday 7 September.
South coach Chris Taylor was forced to make several changes to his team for the Semi Final, with Bryan Bran, Tim Mala, Iqi Jawadi, Nick Epifano and Luke Hopper all Cup-tied after representing Dandenong Thunder in the earlier stages of the competition. Taylor decided to give goalkeeper Peter Gavalas a rest and recalled Chris Maynard in between the sticks. Jonathan Munoz – who made his South debut as a late substitute against Oakleigh in the Victorian Premier League match last weekend – started for South at right-back in place of Mala whilst youngster James Karvelis replaced Bryan Bran at centre-back, as Brad Norton and Shaun Kelly retained their places in defence. Andrew Cartanos and Rhys Meredith were both given starts whilst Fernando De Moraes and Baggio Yousif (with 11 goals in his last six Under-21s matches) were on the substitutes’ bench.
South had the better of the first half but could not convert their possession into goals on the scoreboard. The closest that South got to scoring was a header from Shaun Kelly that went over Keiran Gonzalez’s crossbar after the goalkeeper had fumbled the ball. Despite the domination, Gully should have gone into the break with the lead after some quick feet by Osagie Ederaro on the left side resulted in a dangerous low cross played in for what seemed to be an easy tap-in for former South man Hamid Basma. Luckily for South, Maynard was on hand to pull off an outstanding double-save by blocking Basma’s point-blank shot and then quickly recovering to get in the way of Hayne’s follow-up shot.
The second half was almost identical to the first half, with South pushing forward in numbers but unable to seriously put Gonzalez under pressure. The breakthrough goal came just shy of the hour mark, when Shaun Timmins pounced on the loose ball that South’s defence failed to properly clear before releasing Hayne inside the box to smash home past Maynard. Taylor introduced De Moraes and then Yousif for more attacking options but Gully were able to comfortably grind out the result. Disappointingly for South, Gonzalez was hardly tested.
In the end it was an effective Gully that progressed to the Cup Final, leaving Taylor angry that his side did not put more pressure on the opposition in the second half when a goal behind. “We went back to what we were doing when I first came to the Club – ‘ticky taka’ football – and we take a corner with a minute to go and we stuff around and lose the ball after we pushed everyone up into the box” he said in disappointment. In response to his team selection for the match, he mentioned how with five players Cup-tied “a lot of other boys got the opportunity to show what they were made of… some of them did OK and some of them let themselves down.”
With no Cup glory to look forward to in 2013, South must quickly turn its attention to League matters, starting with the visit of Pascoe Vale to Lakeside Stadium on Sunday afternoon. There are four matches remaining in the VPL season and with South sitting in fifth place on the ladder, there is no room for error if the side wants to play finals football in 2013.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 0-1 GREEN GULLY (HT: 0-0)
0-1: Jason Hayne (57’)
South Melbourne FC:
21. Chris MAYNARD (GK), 9. Trent RIXON, 10. Tyson HOLMES, 11. Brad NORTON (C), 12. Rhys MEREDITH, 16. Alan KEARNEY , 17. Nick SOOLSMA, 18. Jonathan MUNOZ (26. Baggio YOUSIF 84’), 19. Shaun KELLY, 20. Andrew CARTANOS (8. Fernando DE MORAES 65’), 22. James KARVELIS
Kieran GONZALEZ (GK), Daniel JONES, Shaun TIMMINS (Sean HARDING 67′), Mitchell BISSINGER, Rodrigo VARGAS, Jason HAYNE (Christopher DIB 87′), Brent FISHER, Matthew SANDERS, Hamid BASMA (Liam BRAIN 65′), Osagie EDERARO, Brian VANEGA
SMFC Man of the Match: Alan Kearney
Venue: SS Anderson Reserve
Date: Wednesday 21 August 2013