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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 08 December 2018
28 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 8 DECEMBER 2018 SPORT GEORGE STOGIANNOU Just six rounds into the ALeague season, and a sharp divide has emerged between the top and bottom half teams, with four points separating fifth placed Melbourne City from sixth placed Brisbane Roar. This weekend's round seven provides two top half clashes and two bottom half clashes, and triple header of matches kicking off this afternoon in Sydney. Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix, (Saturday 8th Dec, 5.35 pm, Jubilee Stadium) The third placed Sky Blues are expected to dominate and win this match against the ninth placed Phoenix, who were a little unfortunate to get just a point at home to league leaders Glory last week. Phoenix will be without suspended defender Ryan Lowry, and possibly keeper Filip Kurto due to injury. Ex Heidel- berg United star Reuben Way made an appearance for Phoenix off the bench last week. For the Sky Blues, they had a Brandon O'Neill wonder strike to thank for securing a win against the Mariners last week. Their fans will be looking for a more convincing display at home and the return from injury of Dutch marquee player Siem de Jong. Melb. Victory v Adelaide United, (Sat 8th Dec, 7.50 pm Marvel Stadium) Arguably the match of the round between two teams with a historical rivalry, and currently separated on the table by just a point. Both sides are coming off wins with the in-form Victory aiming for five wins in a row. Victory will be further strengthened by the return of defender George Niedermeier and defender James Troisi. The game promises some intriguing match ups with the Reds midfield general Isaias coming up against Victory's star Keisuke Honda. The Reds, however, will also be wary of Victory's other attacking options, including Antonis, Barbarouses and Troisi. The visitors will need to be at the top of their game defensively to stop Victory scoring, particularly with the loss to suspension of defender Taylor Regan. Perth Glory v Melb. City, (Sat 8th Dec, 10 pm NIB Stadium) Melbourne Victory’s Terry Antonis celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal against the Wanderers last round. PHOTO: MELBOURNEVICTORY.COM City's 3-0 win over the Jets last week eased the growing pressure on coach Warren Joyce, as they managed to put the "where's Bruno?" question aside, to get back on winning track. But a loss against the league leaders tonight will only revive the growing unease surrounding the omission of the City star striker Fornaroli. Tonight's match against Glory is the first of three tough matches Joyce's team faces against top four opponents in the run up to Christmas. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM ISSN 1321-1676 9 771321 167062 Victory aims for five in a row For Glory, the welcome return of star midfielder Diego Castro last week was a boost as he scored a late equalizer against Phoenix. City will be also be wary of the threat posed by Glory's in form winger Chris Ikonomidis who provided the assist for Castro's equalizer last week. Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar, (Sun 9th December, 5.00 pm McDonald Jones Stadium) Both teams have made slower than expected starts to the season and will be determined to bounce back from losses last week. The Roar will have to make do without suspended midfielder Stefan Mauk and possibly in form spearhead Adam Taggart as well as creative midfielder Eric Bautheac, both of whom are under an injury cloud. The Jets are hoping to recall previously injured Brazilian attacker Jair to the first team squad. They'll also be hoping Dimi Petratos can find the net against his former club. Papastergiadis declares South Melbourne as a ‘no-brainer’ for the FFA As time for the final decision closes in, the chairman of the club’s bid for the A-League points out the many advantages they have over other proposals South Melbourne A-League bid chairman Bill Papastergiadis has characterised the proposal submitted by him and his associates as "ideal" for the Football Federation of Australia. The man behind the bid made sure to put to rest all recent rumours regarding other clubs already participating in the A-League, such as Melbourne City or Melbourne Victory going against South Melbourne's participation in fear of losing part of their crowds. "Targeting the south-southeast market with an already known club with existing infrastructure presents an excellent opportunity for an immediately greater A-League presence in the important South Southeast market," he says. "We will add to the football pie in Victoria. We will work with City and Victory and our demographics support this." Mr Papastergiadis also stressed the club's strong presence in the area, responding to the Team 11 aspirations to erect a stadium in Dandenong. "South Melbourne FC 'owns' the south east part of Melbourne. The facts prove it," he says. "South Melbourne FC is in the proud position to announce as part of its representation of the south - south east catchment area that it has pledges of support from over 50 clubs including the major NPL teams of Oakleigh Cannons, Kingston City and Bentleigh Greens. "These clubs are prepared to share facilities and assist South Melbourne FC when it's granted an A-League licence." Mr Papastergiadis went on to talk about the great partnership between the club and the schools of the area in developing the next generation of footballers, while he gave his club the title of "Austral- ia's football factory," given that over 50 international players originated from "Hellas" and even today, there are hundreds of youngsters training in their academies. He also mentioned the club's financial growth, as South Melbourne have now established a network of over 100 business partners. Additionally, he spoke of the added advantage of the TV audiences that will immediately be gained through the participation of an instantly recognisable brand such as South Melbourne and the deep connections that the club has created with the people of different ethnic and cultural background that reside in the area. Former South Melbourne and National team of Australia coach Ange Postecoglou also made statements in favour of the bid: "South Melbourne FC has played a significant role in laying the foundation for where the sport is today. It has shaped me as a person and was instrumental in shaping my career, both as a player and as a coach. "It is one of the few clubs that can seamlessly compete at a higher level and I am of the belief it can be a competitive force from its initial introduction. "The club is very close to my heart and I know if given the opportunity it can play a pivotal role in growing the game to even greater heights." In conclusion, Mr Papastergiadis summarised why South Melbourne's bid is a one-way street for the FFA: "South Melbourne is a no brainer for the A-League. It boasts a tangible, suburban, purpose built stadium that truly represents its catchment which is coupled with its national brand and fan connection. South Melbourne FC's offering is unique to the A-League Mr Papastergiadis spoke of South Melbourne’s history, stadium, brand name and deep roots with the local community, among other things, when speaking about why his club’s bid is the best choice for the FFA. and an elite Australian sport." The final decision regarding the two teams that will receive the licences to par- ticipate in the A-League from next season onward is expected on 12 December, provided all criteria are fulfilled.
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