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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 19 December 2015
28 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 19 DECEMBER 2015 SPORT GEORGE STOGIANNOU The Melbourne derby dominates an A-League Rd 11 triple-header of matches today, while the round pits the top two sides against lowly opposition. Victory talisman Archie Thompson could make his first appearance this season following a long injury layoff. Saturday's action kicks off across the ditch on the Westpac Stadium pitch in Wellington. Wellington Phoenix v Sydney City FC, Sat 19 Dec, 5.15 pm, Westpac Stadium Sixth-placed Phoenix host the fifth-placed City in a match up which appears even on paper, although Phoenix has the slightly better recent form. Both teams will be keen to get back on the winning track to stay in touch with the leaders after suffering 2-1 losses on the road last week. Wellington has won its last three home matches, while Sydney has won just one of its last five games. Sydney is likely to be without injured forward Alex Brosque. At the other end it will need to stay compact in defence to close down the speed king Roy Krishna and the equally dangerous Roly Bonevacia. Expect more goals in this match than the dour scoreless draw they played out in their previous meeting just three weeks ago. Melbourne City v Melbourne Victory, Sat 19 Dec, 7.30 pm, AAMI Park A month is a long time in Page 25 Futsal trio back for second tilt at national title Page 26 - 27 Ulysses Kokkinos 9 771321 167062 The heat is on for Derby Day DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM ISSN 1321-1676 Melbourne City playmaker Aaron Mooy (L) and Melbourne Victory midfielder Rashid Mahazi go head to head in the derby. football. While City's stocks have risen following its goalscoring spree of late, preseason favourite Melbourne Victory has lost some of its lustre, losing three in a row for the first time since 2013. Add the fact that it's Victory's third match in eight days, with extreme temperatures forecast, and City fans could be excused for thinking their team has a great chance of reversing the result of its first meeting earlier this season when the Victory ran out winners. Defender Aaron Hughes has been named in the City squad as Connor Chapman misses due to a knee injury, while Victory welcomes back defenders Mathieu Delpierre and Thomas Deng, also naming Archie Thompson in the squad. Critical matchups are likely all over the park. In the middle, Victory's Rashid Mahazi, who has stepped into the defensive midfielder role vacated by an ill Carl Valeri, will have the job of keeping City playmaker and goalscorer Aaron Mooy from creating havoc, while at the other end City's Erik Paartalu will be trying to keep Victory playmaker Gui Finkler quiet. Both teams boast lethal force down the flanks where City's Harry Novillo has been shredding defences while Barbarouses and Ben Khalfallah provide the threat for Victory. Both teams have proven goal scorers up front with the league's top marks- men in Bruno Fornaroli and Berisha Beshart. Perth Glory v Western Sydney Wanderers, Saturday 19 December 9.40 pm, NIB Stadium Despite posting back-to-back wins for the first time this season, Perth Glory still has a long way to go to match it with Tony Popovic's table topping Wanderers, which will be looking to extend its winning streak to eight matches. PHOTO: A-LEAGUE.COM The mid-week win over Melbourne Victory thanks to Diego Castro's 74th minute match winner has revived the Perth club's hopes of making finals, particularly with news it has signed striker Andy Keogh, who is set to return in January. However it's a tall ask to expect Glory, which is playing its third match in a row, to stop the Wanderers' match winners Castelen, Mitch Nichols and Mark Bridges from firing their team to an eighth straight win. Final games of the year could prove tricky Three of the top six teams in the Greek Super League are in action today in what is the last round of fixtures before the new year. Olympiakos, Panionios and Asteras Tripolis, currently first, fifth and sixth respectively, all have tricky away games on Saturday. The first game of the weekend will see third-last Atromitos desperate to pick up points against visiting Panionios. Atromitos coach Traianos Dellas knows his side can not afford to drop any more points at home if they want to avoid relegation at the end of the season. Panionios, meanwhile, will want to continue its great start to the season, which included a 1-1 home draw against rivals AEK Athens last week. The second game of this weekend is Veria at home to Asteras Tripolis. Veria is lying just above the relegation places and will want to pick up points at home, while Asteras is looking to stay in touch with the top five places that lead to the play-offs. The final game of tonight will see Olympiakos travel to the island of Lesbos to take on last placed Kalloni. Olympiakos are flying high this year, having recorded 13 straight wins in the Super League, leaving them at the head to the table well ahead of the chasing pack. Last week the Reds defeated 10-man Panetolikos 1-nil at home thanks to a goal by Alejandro Dominguez. The strike, a drive from outside the area that swerved away from substitute goal- keeper Manolis Stefanakos, was scored in stoppage time at the end of the first half. Stefanakos replaced Panetolikos starting keeper Dimitris Kyriakidis, who was shown a straight red card just before half-time for handling the ball outside his area in an incident disputed by the away side, who claim a foul by an Olympiakos player had preceded the goalkeeper's handling of the ball. Olympiakos was then awarded a penalty in the 55th minute, which was taken by Dominguez and saved by Stefanakos. Despite winning the game and going 11 points ahead of second-place Panathinaikos, Olympiakos supporters jeered their players at the completion of the game, disappointed by what many called a very poor performance by the champions. On Sunday, fourth-placed PAOK take on eighth-placed Platanias at Toumba Stadium. Both sides drew their respective matches last week, PAOK had a scoreless draw away to Levadiakos, while Veria drew 1-1 away against Xanthi. Also Sunday, Panetolikos takes on Iraklis and Giannena meets Xanthi, before the final game of the day sees secondplaced Panathinaikos, confident after a good 2-nil win against Asteras last weekend, travel north to Thrace where it will face Panthrakikos in Komotini. On Monday, third-placed AEK Athens hosts Levadiakos at the Athens Olympic Stadium in the last Super League game for this year.
12 December 2015
9 January 2016