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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 14 October 2017
28 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER 2017 SPORT without Ange? To Russia Rumours have emerged surrounding the possible retirement of Postecoglou as Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou PHOTO: FLIPBOARD Australian football has been shaken and stirred by news reports that emerged midweek that Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou won't be taking the team to Russia regardless of the result of their final qualifying play-off against Honduras next month. The reports indicate Postecoglou will resign after the Honduras tie, after four years in the job which he took in 2013 replacing Holger Ossieck. The matches against Honduras will leave Postecoglou just shy of 50 games in charge of the Soc- ceroos during which they were crowned Asian Champions in 2015, and competed well in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. With the reports yet to be confirmed or denied by the coach himself or the FFA, a swirl of rumour and conjecture has resulted with some reports speculating that Postecoglou is tired of the increased criticism of his tactics and selection arising from failure to qualify automatically for the World Cup. Critics point to a supposed rift with star player Aaron Mooy on his omission from Tues- day's starting line-up against Syria however Mooy himself was quick to deny any ill-feeling on social media, saying his remarks about being angry at his non-selection were taken out of context. Other reports speculate on tensions between the coach and the FFA executive despite Postecoglou praising the FFA for their support of the team in providing a charter flight home from Malaysia after the first leg of the qualifier against Syria. Certainly it appears that Postecoglou hasn't told his players about any intentions to resign. This however, may be a deliberate choice by the coach so as not to unsettle the team before the Honduras tie. In any case, Socceroos keeper Matt Ryan told the ABC, "I'm still thinking he's going to be there. If Ange or David Gallop tell the players something different, then I'll know but, otherwise, I don't think we can start thinking about 'what's next?'" he said. "I've always loved Ange's approach, the way he doesn't see Australia as an underdog and how he asks the question, 'Why can't Australia do great things in the football world?'. "I agree with him. That's how you've got to be." Postecoglou's only comments on the matter since the news broke on Wednesday was to neither confirm or deny the resignation. In an official FFA media release, he is quoted as saying, "I am aware of reports today suggesting that I will step down as head coach of the Socceroos next month. My sole focus is Melbourne Derby welcomes back international stars GEORGE STOGIANNOU The 23rd Melbourne Derby tonight promises to be the highlight of Rd 2 of the A-League this weekend. The match will feature an influx of international talent including Mark Milligan, Kostas Barbarouses and James Troisi for Victory while Tim Cahill returns to the City squad. Despite missing several key players last week, Melbourne Victory put in a strong showing in their 1-0 loss against reigning champions Sydney FC. Debutante Leroy George impressed in attack for Victory. For City, new coach Warren Joyce and new signing striker Ross McCormack enjoyed a winning start in last week's 2-0 win over Brisbane thanks to a Bruce Kamau brace. It remains to be seen how City can adjust without Bruno Fornaroli leading the line with the striker expected to be out at least until December. The derby kicks off at Etihad Stadium at 7.50 pm. Other Rd 2 matches this weekend include: Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners, Sat 14 Oct, 5.35 pm, Spotless Stadium The Wanderers' opening round win over Perth last week will have buoyed fans following the shock departure of former coach Tony Popovic on the eve of the season. Interim coach Haydn Foxe has the chance to back that up with a second win when the Wanderers host the Mariners who last week showed how it was possible to dominate possession yet be dominated on the scoreboard losing 5-1 to the Jets in a disappointing derby result for Okon's players. Okon lamented the Mariners' final pass and his team conceding second balls when the Jets played it direct. Andrew Hoole returns for the Mariners whilst WSW will welcome Socceroo Josh Risdon back from international duty. Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory, Sun 15 Oct, 5.00 pm, McDonald James Stadium Although they haven’t beaten Glory at home since 2011, the Jets under new coach Ernie Merricks will go into the match full of confidence with a potent spearhead in Roy O'Donovan who marked his debut last week against his former club with a hat-trick. Venezuelan international midfielder Ronald Vargas was another impressive debutante who had the Jets fans excited with his quality on the ball. With Diego Castro on the park for Perth Glory, there will be plenty of Latin flair for the fans to enjoy in this match. Despite losing their opening match of the season 2-1 against WSW, Glory coach Ken Lowe was heartened by the second half performance of this team as they fought back from a 2-0 deficit. They went close to grabbing a point after striker Adam Taggart twice hit the woodwork. Kostas Barbarouses PHOTO: NEWCASTLE HERALD on preparing the team for our final two qualifying matches. I will not let anything compromise the team's journey on getting to a fourth consecutive FIFA World Cup." Likewise, the FFA has neither confirmed or denied the report with CEO David Gallop quoted in the same release as saying "Should we qualify, there is a period of some months until the World Cup and we agreed that we will need to lock in our set-up as soon as possible to maximise our preparation time." DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM ISSN 1321-1676 9 771321 167062 Glory has signed defender Jeremy Walker and midfielder Mitch Mallia from the NPL as injury replacements to their squad. Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix, Sun 15 Oct, 7.00 pm, Allianz Stadium It's difficult to see Phoenix causing an upset against reigning champion Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium especially as the reigning champions have begun the season in confident fashion with a 1-0 away win over arch rival Melbourne Victory and progressed into the FFA Cup final with a midweek semifinal win against South Melbourne FC. Phoenix, under new coach Danje Kalezic, fielded seven debutantes and settled for a 1-1 draw at home to Adelaide United last week. They will be boosted by the return of experienced quartet Gui Finkler (from injury), and Kiwi internationals Michael McGinchey, Thomas Doyle, and skipper Andrew Durante.
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