Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 30 April 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 30 APRIL 2016 25 SPORT Reigning champs to test Gully’s defence Leading NPL 1 scorer Heidelberg United’s Kenny Athiu (R) in action against Pascoe Vale. PHOTO: CORNERFLAG.COM Today's Battle of the Greens promises an intriguing match-up between an in-form Green Gully, sitting fourth on the NPL1 table, and visiting reigning champion Bentleigh Greens, sitting in third spot on the ladder. Gully boasts the best de- fensive record in the league based largely on its impressive home record, where it has kept five clean sheets in seven home matches this season. It has only faced one of the teams in the top three this season and if that encounter (a scoreless home draw against Heidelberg United) is anything to go by, expect Arthur Papas's team to take few early risks and to keep things tight. Bentleigh, on the other hand, has numerous attacking options and if it scores early, it could make for an open attacking match. Later in the evening, fans have the chance to take in a northern suburbs derby on the way to church. An outof-sorts Hume City will try to halt visiting Heidelberg United's remarkable run of eight wins from nine starts. If Hume's veteran defenders Rexhepi and Tavsancioglu can put the brakes on the free scoring Kenny Athiu and co, the home team will fancy its chances. One thing that's certain from this game is that there won't be a rush on the canteen from fasting visiting Bergers' fans. This Monday night provides plenty of action for fans looking for their football fix early in the week, with fifth-placed Oakleigh Cannons hosting a struggling Pascoe Vale, looking for its first win in eight matches. Can the Cannons recover from the disappointment of a last minute FFA Cup capitulation to Melbourne Knights mid-week? On the same night, Port Melbourne Sharks head inland to the Veneto club to take on Bulleen Lions at a difficult away venue. At the same time, in NPL 2 E action, second-placed King- ston City will be hoping for a quick recovery from its 2-1 home loss against Dandenong Thunder last Monday, which enabled Thunder to replace City at the top of the table. City hosts a winless Werribee City. In other round 10 NPL 2 E matches, another of Thunder's recent conquests, third-placed Brunswick City hosts struggling Bendigo City while Box Hill United hosts St Albans Saints in a mid-table clash. Both games are on today. In State League 1 NW, round five action today, reigning champ Western Suburbs hosts early contender for its title, Altona Magic while SE 1 front-runner Malvern City hits the road to try and keep its perfect start to the season going when it travels to thirdplaced Warragul United. Meanwhile, a winless South Springvale travels to Langwarrin in search of its first point of the campaign, while FC Clifton Hill travels to Mooroolbark. Olympiakos to play AEK in Greek Cup final PAOK pulls out of semi-final against Olympiakos, while AEK scrapes past Atromitos Macedonian club PAOK Thessaloniki pulled out of the Greek Cup on Wednesday when its Russian-born owner Ivan Savvidis decided not to let his club play its semi-final second leg tie against Olympiakos because his conditions had not been met. The match was set to be played behind closed doors after a decision by the Greek government to play the rest of the competition with no supporters. The decision came about following crowd violence during the first leg of the tie played on 3 March, when PAOK fans invaded the pitch as their side was losing and had claims for a late penalty, which was not awarded. Following that game, which never ended and was awarded to Olympiakos nil-3, Savvidis warned he would not bring his team to Athens for the second leg unless a foreign referee was appointed and Hellenic Football Feder- ation (EPO) president Giorgos Girtzikis resigned. Neither of those two demands were met and Savvidis lived up to his threat, with PAOK not showing up for the game. "PAOK FC has decided not to play today at the Georgios Karaiskaki Stadium and, believe me, this decision was not easy," Savvidis said in a statement. "Our declaration to not participate further in the competition following the unprecedented lawlessness at our Toumba Stadium two months ago began an irreversible process for the cleansing of Greek football, and I'm glad PAOK is playing a leading role in this movement." PAOK could face serious disciplinary action, including point deductions for next season's Greek Super Lague. However, Savvidis said he was prepared to make sacrifices if it meant a cleaner, healthier Greek football. "Greek football is experiencing a deep crisis - healthy and fair forces are fighting against a well-organised and corrupt system," he said. "We must unite our efforts and show the need to protect the value of sports in this country because justice and dignity are above the interests of any particular club. In this struggle sometimes there will be losses, and PAOK is ready to sacrifice. I believe that in the end, Greek football will come out of this process as the winner." Olympiakos was once again awarded the game 3-nil, and with it qualified for the final on 7 May, where it will take on rival AEK Athens at the Olympic Stadium, in another game to be played behind closed doors. AEK qualified for the final by defeating Atromitos 2-1 on aggregate. A 1-nil win for AEK in the first leg last week was followed by a 1-1 draw on Tuesday. Atromitos went ahead early in the second half through a penalty scored by Brazilian Luiz Brito after AEK defender Vassilis Lambropoulos handled the ball in the box. With the game looking like it was headed for extra-time, AEK then drew level in the dying minutes when a beautifully weighted cross by Spanish defender Didac Villa found Algerian striker Rafik Djebbour who slotted the ball home to send AEK to the final.
23 April 2016
7 May 2016