Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 1 November 2014
9 771321 167062 ISSN 1321-1676 SPORT 32 SATURDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2014 Page 29 AFL and FFA at loggerheads over stadium Page 28 Armenakas pledges allegiance to Australia And then there were four Bentleigh Greens have become the only amateur club to make it into the FFA Cup semi-finals. Coach John Anastasiadis speaks on the team's 'unbelievable' run and what's in store for the next two weeks HELEN VELISSARIS The minute the score turned from a stalemate to 2-1 in Bentleigh Greens' favour, team coach John Anastasi- adis' phone lit up. "It's been very overwhelm- ing," the coach tells Neos Ko- smos. "It's been incredible the number of well wishes, straight after the game there was roughly 40 messages on my phone." People have been coming out of the woodwork to show their support and their con- gratulations for the Greek sponsored team. The team hasn't just made it into the FFA Cup semi-finals this week, Bentleigh Greens has also become the only Melbourne team and the only amateur team to get in and rightfully pose a threat to the three A-League clubs. From the get-go the FFA Cup was created to bridge the gap between the top tier league and the thousands of grassroots clubs in the na- tion. Now Bentleigh Greens is flying the flag for all those clubs, showing the country that's it's not all about the A-League. The team discovered who they will be playing against in two weeks last night, but not much would have changed in Anastasiadis' plan. "I'm not really concerned with who we get at the mo- ment, they're all good teams, they'll be better prepared than us," he admits. "We'll just go there, try our hardest and not get dis- graced." No-one in the team imag- ined they'd be sitting here in November, contemplat- ing that they're two matches away from hoisting up the in- augural FFA Cup. Many of the players have had to reschedule their hol- idays, booked earlier in the year when the prospect of getting so far wasn't some- thing you'd put a lot of mon- ey on. The situation isn't the best, Anastasiadis admits. "I can't be happy because of the situ- ation we're in," he says. "The fact that we're still in training and we should be on holidays. On our front it's been incredibly hard. At least he will have the same squad to choose from in two weeks, as the turnaround is much shorter this time. With only two weeks to pre- pare, Anastasiadis has put his focus on training sessions, with three booked starting from next week. He says there's no time to organise a practice match and will have to rely on training to iron out all the kinks. His A-League opponents do have the benefit of being in season, and will have the best of both worlds. For the Greens, there's no shortage of newly invigorated passion to help them along. Anastasiadis admits he's seen a new fire ignite in his players from their Adelaide City match. Held to a 1-1 draw, the game took a new turn in extra time. While fatigue might have taken a hold of the midfield, the Greens were inspired to push. 23-year-old Jamie De Abreu put his name up in lights, scoring the 103 min- ute winner. "It got to a point where we've probably done as much as we could," Anastasiadis says. "At half-time of the extra time they actually said we've come this far, we don't want to blow it, we want to win it. "The boys didn't want to give up, they wanted it." De Abreu gave the team their winning goal in the 103 minute, becoming the hero of the match. As a former NSL player, Anastasiadis counts the FFA Cup campaign and the match win as one of his career high- lights. "This was the one that you put in the highlight reel," he says. "The run we've had here has been extraordinary." With the win, Bentleigh has secured home advantage, and will host the semi-final match in two weeks. Three A-League teams will contest the semi finals, in- cluding Perth Glory, Adelaide Untied and Central Coast Mariners. The players have had to move around their holiday plans to play in the semi-final.
25 October 2014
8 November 2014