South Melbourne FC returns to the Veneto Club for the first time in nine years when it faces the promoted FC Bulleen Lions in Monday night PS4 NPL Victoria action.
Chris Taylor’s team goes into the match high on confidence, having secured a maximum nine points and having scored 12 and conceded no goals to open its Premiership defence. South has also enjoyed a ten day break following the 2-0 victory against Port Melbourne on Friday 4 March. Iqi Jawadi’s long-range goal and centre-back Luke Adams’ volley from a corner kick secured the three points at Anderson Reserve.
Jawadi had to be substituted after 40 minutes in the Port Melbourne match after picking up a knock, however it turned out to be minor bruising and the hardworking midfielder should be available to play on Monday night at Veneto Club. Taylor tends not to change his winning team so it is expected that South will field the same starting eleven for a fourth consecutive match.
FC Bulleen Lions have begun life in the top flight of Victorian football with a mixed bag of results. Dominic Barba’s team opened its season with a 1-0 loss at Bentleigh then defeated Oakleigh 1-0 before drawing 1-1 with Melbourne Victory last weekend. Having won the League Championship (and automatic promotion) in the 2015 NPL 1 competition, there is obviously a winning culture within the team and Bulleen will rightly feel capable of causing an upset on Monday night. One player to watch out for is former Melbourne Knights player Shayan Alinejad.
South makes its return to the Veneto Club for the first time since goals from Ricky Diaco and Fernando De Moraes gave it a 2-0 win against the Essendon Royals on 16 March 2007. It has been a very popular venue with South fans in the past, with good crowds attending Veneto Club between 2005 and 2007 when South met the Bulleen Zebras and Essendon Royals. In five league matches at Veneto Club, South has won twice, drawn twice and lost once.
Monday night will be the first time that South has played against the entity now known as FC Bulleen Lions, however several Italian-backed clubs have merged and de-merged throughout the years to form what is FC Bulleen Lions today. One of those old clubs was Box Hill, a team that kept getting promoted then relegated from the old Victorian State League in the 1960s and 1970s.
Box Hill played ten top-flight league matches against South Melbourne Hellas in 1961, 1969 and from 1971 to 1973. Hellas won 9 of their 10 league meetings, with the biggest win being a 7-0 thumping at Middle Park on 27 May 1972.
Monday night’s match at the Veneto Club kicks off at 8:30pm.