Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 04 October 2014
9 771321 167062 ISSN 1321-1676 SPORT 32 SATURDAY 4 OCTOBER 2014 Page 29 South Sydney: a phoenix finally rising? Page 28 Spartathlon defies crisis Fans delight as A-League returns The new A-League season is just six days away and already 2013/14 champions Brisbane Roar look in good stead to claim the title again. What’s in store for this season? With more than 90,000 members signing up to the A-League, the 10th season is set to be the biggest and most colourful. Thanks to World Cup hys- teria, the FFA Cup magic, the NPL rollout and the im- pending Asian Cup, there has been no better time to get to the A-League. Starting next Friday with a blockbuster Melbourne Vic- tory and Western Sydney Wanderers match, the league won't disappoint. There's a new look Mel- bourne Heart, ready to show off their Manchester ties with football superstar Da- vid Villa on the pitch. Sydney FC might be with- out Alessandro Del Piero, but it has claimed A-League coach superstar Graham Ar- nold to transition the team so it can stand on its own two feet. Melbourne Victory has snapped up Roar's goal ma- chine, Besart Berisha, and has already shown he's worth the investment in a fantastic pre-season. Last season's champion Brisbane Roar showed it are more than capable of mak- ing it two championships in a row when it left Greek sponsored club Olympic FC absolutely shell shocked this week. The Queensland NPL final- ists were demolished 10-0 by the Roar this Tuesday. Albanian striker Mensur Kurtishi scored a whop- ping five goals for the club, while Youth Player of the Year nominee and Greek Australian, Dimitri Petra- tos scored two. It will have to be without goalie Mi- chael Theo for a couple of matches as the player re- cuperates from a FFA Cup match injury. Season runners-up Western Sydney Wanderers stand on the brink of creating Aus- tralian sporting history af- ter booking their spot in the Asian Champions League fi- nal with a 2-0 win over FC Seoul on Wednesday. It's another huge mile- stone for the youngest club in the League. The club has reached back-to-back A-League grand finals and won the Premier’s Plate in two years. Wanderers coach Tony Popovic sees this milestone as the best the club has achieved. "This is the best. Nothing beats this," he said. "We've had a lot of special nights but tonight just tops off a fantastic campaign. "We don't want it to end. We don't want to just make the fi- nal, we want to win the final." Adelaide United have coach Josep Gombau to thank for their resurgence last year and now enter this season with head raised high. Gombau has assembled a strong squad, targeting key areas that were missing last season, bringing in Victo- ry's Jimmy Jengo and Dylan McGowan for the midfield, while also grabbing local Craig Goodwin to fill their left back hole after Michael Zullo left. But of course, most of the fans will be craning to see what a new look Melbourne Heart, now called Melbourne City, will offer this season. The completely new look team will hopefully make fans forget the abysmal sea- son that saw them finish last. Despite a surge near the end, it wasn't enough for the team to avoid a heart attack. Now with an injection of money and very useful con- nections, City is harbouring one of the league's highest profile players, even if it's on a short loan basis. Spanish superstar David Villa, who's won the Cham- pions League, two Copa del Rey titles, three La Liga championships and the World Cup will fill the ce- lebrity role this season. But it won't be easy sailing for him, Aussie great Harry Kewell says. "Everyone that comes over here thinks it's going to be easy, and I think they get a rude awakening straight away," Kewell said to Fox Sports. "It's a tough and physical league and that's what I was impressed with. "Let's just hope he can put on a great show." David Villa, who will ar- rive just four days before the league start, will be available for selection in City's open- ing match against Sydney FC. At least he says he's aware of the heightened expecta- tions. "From what I have heard, my arrival has generated a lot of high expectations for the club and I hope that I can meet them," he said. Taking on Sydney FC might become a bit of a grudge match, after City claimed the sky blue colours for them- selves, leaving Sydney FC and its fans in uproar. At least it’s up for the task. Sydney FC drew 1-1 on the weekend in a match against Melbourne Victory in Tasma- nia, and has had a faultless FFA Cup campaign. Perth Glory's season opener is one of the toughest, hav- ing to travel all the way to New Zealand to play Wel- lington Phoenix. Yet, its FFA Cup participa- tion has shown it's up for the task. It's one of five remain- ing clubs to pay in the semi finals in late October. The Phoenix has had two poor seasons in a row, and now needs to get the crowds back. Coach Ernie Merrick has overhauled a large portion of his squad, but hasn't done much to fill its defence prob- lems, signing only one new defender, Tom Doyle. Newcastle Jets might have lost breakout star Adam Tag- gart, but have signed Mel- bourne Victory's Marco Flo- res. Whether it'll be a litmus test for the season or a chance to rub off the pre- season, the opening matches this season will have fans in raptures. Star recruit David Villa will be in town four days before match day for Melbourne City. Can Br i sbane Roar do i t aga i n? After the i r 10-0 w i na g a i nst O l ymp i cFCth i sw ee k, i ts ee ms li k el y. PHOTO: AAP/DA VE HUNT. The Western Sydney Wanderers have made it to the grand final of the Asian Champions League to add another milestone for the young club. PHOTO: AAP/PAUL MILLER.
27 September 2014
11 October 2014