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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 5 March 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 MARCH 2016 27 SPORT Greece to return to Melbourne for first time since 2006 GEORGE STOGIANNOU Melbourne's Greek soccer fans can breathe easier and look forward to watching the visiting Greek National Football team take on the Socceroos in Melbourne, after the Victorian government and Football Federation of Australia (FFA) reached an agreement about staging the second match of Greece's tour at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday 7 June. Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major events John Eren made the announcement Melbourne's Greek community had been waiting anxiously for, following protracted talks between the FFA and the Victorian government. The Melbourne match will be the second of the two-match tour by Greece, the first being staged at ANZ stadium in Sydney on Saturday 4 June, which is believed to have been the Victorian government's first choice. "This is going to be an epic blockbuster,” Minister Eren said at the announcement last Friday. “The Socceroos and Greece always put on a great show. The atmosphere at Etihad will be electric. These are the big events we want. They keep our restaurants and hotels full, they create a buzz around the city and they stimulate the economy." Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou, who was present at the announcement said: "From a football perspective, Greece will give us a great test over the two matches, and obviously there is some personal significance for me. I'm very proud of my heritage and it will be a proud moment to coach the Socceroos against the country of my birth in front of family and friends in Melbourne." As well as the Socceroos coach, a player who could be appearing before family and friends in Melbourne is Melbourne-born Greek based striker Apostolou Giannou, whom Postecoglou confirmed had recently committed to playing with the Socceroos. The Socceroos’ two matches against Greece will follow another friendly, this time in the UK against England in May, providing the Australian team with the opportunity to warm up and add depth to the team ahead of its crucial final round of World Cup qualifiers beginning in September. Atletico Madrid to play Spurs at the MCG Three great nights of football in July The Australian leg of the International Champions Cup has locked in Spanish La Liga powerhouse Atletico Madrid as the third European team, together with Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur, to join Melbourne Victory in the preseason international tournament to be played at the MCG in July this year. It's a reprise of the successful round-robin tournament played in Melbourne last year to which thousands flocked to see Roma, Manchester City and Real Madrid. Atletico, coached by Argentine Diego Simeone, currently sits in second place in La Liga, between top-placed Barcelona and third-placed Real Madrid. "The team and I can't wait to come and play in Melbourne and visit a country as exciting as Australia, sharing with fans its passion for football,” coach Simeone says of the planned pre-season trip. “It's fantastic to be part of such a high-calibre tournament with some of the best Atletico’s stars, including forward Antoine Greitzmann, head to Melbourne in July for a match against Spurs . PHOTO: AP. teams in Europe and the ALeague's most successful side, Melbourne Victory. “This competition will form a key part of our pre-season training and will be a great opportunity for me to put my players through their paces ahead of the new season." Atletico is scheduled to play in the third match of the three-match series, against London club Tottenham Hotspur, which is also currently flying high in the EPL in sec- ond place behind Leicester, and with its best chance in years of winning the title. The three matches scheduled for July 2016 are: Match 1: Melbourne Victory v Juventus, Saturday 23 July, 7.00 pm Match 2: Juventus v Tottenham Hotspur, Tuesday 26 July, 8.00 pm Match 3: Tottenham Hotspur v Atletico Madrid, Friday 29 July, 8.00 pm Hot on the heels of announc- ing the Socceroos v Greece friendly in Melbourne for June, Victoria's Minister for Sport and Tourism John Eren commented: "The fans want the big European outfits in Melbourne and that's exactly what we're delivering. The biggest contests belong in the city that does them the best. We put on a great spectacle last year when more than 220,000 fans packed the MCG over three great night and we can't wait to do it again." Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory gain valuable ACL points Sydney FC has taken down Guangzhou Evergrande, edging the cashed-up Chinese heavyweight team 2-1 to steer its Asian Champions League (ACL) campaign back on track. Huang Bowen cancelled out Robert Stambolziev's first-half opener at Allianz Stadium on Wednesday night, before substitute Milos Dimitrijevic struck a dramatic 88th-minute winner. Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou says it will be a proud moment when the Australian team plays Greece at Etihad. Guangzhou's $65 million man Jackson Martinez lurked and took a couple of stabs, but could not put a goal away against his less opulent but grittier Australian counterparts. Sydney barely had minutes to celebrate before the unthinkable happened - Seb Ryall yanked Martinez to the turf by his shirt, earning a yellow card and conceding a penalty. Meanwhile, Melbourne Victory remains in pole position to qualify from its ACL group, despite letting slip an early lead to draw 1-1 with Gamba Osaka in Japan. Victory led for almost an hour at the home of the former ACL champions when Nick Ansell's pressure forced Shu Karata to trickle a ball into his own goal. But the A-League champion was denied by a diving header from decorated veteran Yasuhito Endo after the break. The visitors were by far the happier team to hear the final whistle, adding the Seb Ryall (R) of Sydney received a yellow card after his foul on Jackson Martinez of Guangzhou Evergrande. PHOTO: AAP/ PAUL MILLER. away draw to an opening 2-1 success over Shanghai. Victory will have the chance to solidify its posi- tion at the top of group G when it hosts Korean side Suwon Bluewings on March 15 in its next match.
27 February 2016
12 March 2016