Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 07 October 2017
SPORT 26 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 7 OCTOBER 2017 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Undermanned Victory hosts champion Sydney FC in A-League opening round grand final replay Sydney FC star midfielder Milos Ninkovic flanked by Victory’s James Troisi ( L) and Carl Valeri (R). PHOTO: ARCHIVE Despite five new coaches and a number of new foreign recruits, a new free-toair broadcaster (Channel Ten), there's been a relatively low key build-up to the start of the A-League season which kicked off last night at AAMI park in Melbourne, with Melbourne City hosting Brisbane Roar. Perhaps it's the anxiety surrounding the Socceroos' World Cup qualification matches against Syria this week that is casting a shadow over the domestic game. Then there was the unexpected departure of Wanderers' coach Tony Popovic to an overseas coaching job in Turkey. Maybe too there is a lowered sense of expectation surrounding the challengers to reigning champion Sydney FC's crown. The Sky Blues are already a strong favourite to win a historic back-to-back Premiers' Plate. Today's Rd 1 action kicks off on the Central Coast. Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets, Central Coast Stadium, Sat 7 October at 5.35 pm. Mariners' boss Paul Okon has recruited heavily with 11 new signings including an exciting midfield contingent of Wout Brama, Tom Hiareiej and Daniel De Silva. Adding spice to the contest is the return of former Mariners' striker Roy O'Donovan to his former hunting ground as the Jets' new frontman. Coaching the Jets is the league's most experienced manager Ernie Merrick. Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC, Etihad Stadium, Sat 7 October at 7.50 pm. Match of the round status belongs to the Big Blue derby which is a replay of last season's grand final. Victory will have to make do without three of their key players: Milligan, Troisi, and Bara- barouses, all missing due to international duty, while Sydney's already impressive team will be further strengthened by impressive recruit Luke Wilkshire, and Polish international attacker Adrian Mierzewski, who adds further creativity upfront for Sydney. Local NPL club South Melbourne will be taking a close interest in this match as they host Sydney in a midweek FFA Cup semifinal. Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United, Westpac Stadium, Sun 8 October at 3.00 pm. Both these teams have new coaches at the helm. Phoe- nix has Darije Kalezic while Adelaide has new German coach Marco Kurz. Kurz has brought with him a couple of impressive overseas recruits, and the team has impressed in pre-season making it to the FFA Cup semifinals. Wellington will have to make do without the service of several All Whites missing due to international duty including skipper Andrew Durante. Western Sydney Wanderers v Perth Glory, Spotless Stadium, Sun 8 October at 6.00 pm. Former coach Tony Popovic's assistant Hayden Foxe will be in charge for the Rd 1 visit of Perth Glory. Early season form suggests that 31-year-old new Spanish striker Oriol Riera may be the solution to the Wanderers' long-standing goal scoring problems. Glory's defence was their Achilles heel last season and they have undergone several changes for the new season. They will need to keep a close rein on Riera, Bonevacia, and Cejudo, if they're to take anything from this match. Interestingly two of Glory's midfield recruits, Nichols and Andreu, will debut against their former club the Wanderers. Socceroos rue missed chances in first leg draw with Syria GEORGE STOGIANNOU Australia's World Cup fate hangs in the balance following a 1-1 draw against Syria in Malaysia in the first leg of their World Cup play-off on Thursday night. The Socceroos were headed to a hard fought 1-0 victory courtesy of a first half Robbie Kruse goal but were unable to hold out a determined Syrian team in the second half conceding a contentious penalty which Syrian striker Omar Alsoma converted in the 84th minute. Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou brought in Aziz Behich and Josh Risdon to the starting 11 as wing backs and pushed Matthew Leckie into a number 10 role in place of Tom Rogic. He also gave Matt Jurman his first cap in the back three alongside Sainsbury and Degenak. Aaron Mooy was the outstanding Socceroo in the first half, controlling the tempo and creating openings with his long passing in oppressive conditions on an uneven pitch. Milligan had a strong shot saved by Syrian keeper Ibrahim Alma, followed by a wasteful effort from Leckie. Leckie made amends for his miss by providing the assist for Kruse's 31st minute goal. Syria looked dangerous on the counter with Alsoma combining twice with Omar Khrbin to produce shots on goal. Early in the second half, Socceroo striker Tom Juric twice hit the post in quick succession. But after that moment the Syrians put the Socceroos under considerable pressure as they peppered the Soc- ceroos box with crosses from both corners and open play. One of those crosses resulted in the referee awarding a contentious penalty after an apparent push by Leckie into the back of Alsomo. Alsomo converted with the spot kick to square the tie. The Socceroos were denied a late winner when Syrian keeper Alma produced a reflex save from a Sainsbury header. In the end a 1-1 scoreline was a fair result for both teams. The second leg is scheduled for this Tuesday evening in Sydney. Striker Tom Juric twice hit the post with shots on goal.
30 September 2017
14 October 2017