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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 05 January 2019
SPORT 18 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 JANUARY 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Koutroumbis wins praise for his performance as A-League swings into new year GEORGE STOGIANNOU A-League matches continue to come thick and fast over the New Year period with a number of midweek fixtures scheduled in the first two weeks of the year, in addition to the normal weekend round of matches. The most recent midweek match was Newcastle Jets' 2-2 home draw against Brisbane Roar on Wednesday evening. The match featured the return from serious illness of Jets defender Johnny Koutroumbis who played the full 90 minutes and whose performance drew praise afterwards from Jets coach Ernie Merrick. "I thought he was outstanding and he was up against a very good player in [Eric] Bautheac," Merrick said of Koutroumbis. "Johnny, for a 20-year-old just recovering from cancer, I just thought it was a great story and a great performance, and I wasn't going to take him off. "He's just responded so well. It would have been great if he got a goal at the end, because he was trying his best. "Because he tried to do that he got caught out at the other end, but I'd rather he works that hard in a positive point of view and maybe concedes at the back." This weekend's round 11 fixtures kicked off in Sydney on Friday night with Sydney FC hosting the winless Central Coast Mariners. The Rd 11 action continues on Saturday with what is possibly the match of the round to watch, first up in Adelaide. ADELAIDE UNITED V WELLINGTON PHOENIX, SAT 5 JAN, COOPERS STADIUM @ 5.35 PM The last time these two teams met was just six rounds ago when Adelaide won 3-1 on Wellington's home turf, a result which left the Nix languishing in 9th spot whilst the Reds were in fourth. A lot has changed since then, with Wellington undefeated in the following five matches since that game, climbing to 6th spot equal on points to the Reds who are in fifth spot. After three winless rounds, the Reds returned to the winners circle last round cour- Newcastle Jets defender Johnny Koutroumbis played his first full match midweek after recovery from serious illness. PHOTO: FOX SPORTS tesy of an injury time Craig Goodwin penalty against the Jets. In this match, fifth spot is at stake and keeping within striking distance of the top four. For the Nix, Sarpreet Singh continues his impressive form. Coach Mark Rudan has boosted his attack with an early signing of Irish International striker Cillian Sheridan who has played a number of seasons in Cyprus with APOEL FC and Omonia Nicosia. WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS V MELBOURNE VICTORY, SAT 5 JAN, ANZ STADIUM @ 7.50 PM The 8th placed Wanderers THE YEAR AHED: FOOTBALL IN VICTORIA The future is bright for Football Victoria PETER FILOPOULOS It's been a progressive year at Football Victoria. We rebranded to Football Victoria and revealed a new brand and website. There was a strategic realignment at the commencement of the year where the organisation made a conscious decision to focus on the following four strategic pillars: 1. A high-performance culture that earns mutual respect from the game's stakeholders; 2. An obsession for the prosperity of our clubs as the foundations of the game's ongoing growth and development; building capability for our clubs to perform to an optimum level; 3. Vital facilities and infrastructure that secures the game for the next 10 years; and collaborating with clubs, local government, federal government and the FFA; 4. Participation growth through positive inclusion initiatives and programs that make football fun and accessible for men and women, boys and girls, and people of all cultures, ages and abilities. We had a successful year in Peter Filopoulos, Minister for Sport John Eren and Ben Carroll MP. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/MARK AVELLINO PHOTOGRAPHY 2018. We unlocked around $100 million from state and local governments to invest in local community facilities and infrastructure. This was achieved on the back of our facilities strategy where we revealed that based on population increase and continued participation increases that we will need an additional 420 full size equivalent pitches by 2026 to cope with the demand. Furthermore, we also revealed that in 2018, 12,500 boys and girls of all abilities missed out on playing the game of their choice because our facilities have reached saturation point. The state government also has announced that they will fund a business case for our state home of football so that we further scope what this will involve and which location. We now have over 350,000 participants in Victoria and our biggest growth is coming from girls and women where we expect to reach 50/50 gender equity participation by 2027. Victorian Clubs featured prominently on the national stage with Melbourne Victory winning the A-League Championship, Bentleigh Greens featuring in the semi-final of the FFA Cup and Heidelberg United participating in the NPL National Finals. In 2019 we will reveal or new four year strategic plan which will expand on the strategic priorities of 2018. * Peter Filopoulos is CEO of Football Victoria have just one win in their last seven matches and come up against second placed Victory which is unbeaten in its last eight matches. The Wanderers will be hoping for a good performance in front of its home crowd against a team it lost 4-0 to in its last outing. They'll be desperate to avoid a repeat of the scenes of last round when their RBB fans walked out en masse after an insipid first half display against Melbourne City. The Wanderers have signed 24-year-old attacker Kwame Yeboah and released defender Ruon Tongyik. The Victory squad will be strengthened by the return from injury of Raul Buena and George Niedemeier, however the news is not good for star player Keisuke Honda, who is expected to miss another four matches with a hamstring injury. MELBOURNE CITY V NEWCASTLE JETS, SUN 6 JAN, AAMI PARK @ 5.00 PM An in form City has a great chance to consolidate a top four spot, but for the Jets who have dropped points in recent games, late in the contest, another loss could put them further adrift of the top six. Lying currently in seventh spot on the ladder, the Jets look like the only team of the ones currently outside the top six, which could possibly make it into the top six by the end of the season. They've started well in their recent matches posing a threat to recent opponents, especially with players such as Dimi Petratos, Vargas and O'Donovan. However, they're coming up against a City side which boasts the best defence in the league. Fatigue could also be a problem for the Jets with this being their third match in eight days. BRISBANE ROAR V PERTH GLORY, SUN 6 JAN, SUNCORP STADIUM @ 5.00 PM It's ninth hosting first at Suncorp. The Roar has put in a couple of spirited performances without a win in its last two matches since the shock resignation of coach John Aloisi. They'll need another spirited performance if they're to get anything from league leaders Glory who last week even without Ikonomidis and Diego Castro, dominated bottom side Central Coast Mariners 4-1. Despite Roar's lowly position, striker Adam Taggart continues to find the net regularly and Roar fans will be hoping he can do the same against his former club. Perth will have just three days to recover from this match before hosting Sydney FC in an eagerly anticipated midweek clash on Wednesday. Other midweek matches in the coming week include WSW against Wellington Phoenix and the match-up between fierce foes Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory with both matches scheduled for Tuesday. Greek League to resume on 15 January As referees continue their strike in support of their associate Athanasios Tzilos, professional clubs have reached a consensus The Greek Super League organisational committee has decided that all participating teams are to continue their obligations on 15 January. They will pick up where they left off from round 15, before referee Athanasios Tzilos was attacked outside of his house in Larissa, which lead him to a nearby hospital for the treatment of his injuries. Following this event (and a series of others that have taken place throughout the years), the Greek referees made the decision to go on strike until further notice and have not yet announced when this strike will end. However, the decision to resume the Super League was made despite the strike, with the Greek clubs declaring that they will bring in foreign professionals if need be. "This is not a threat. We comprehend and stand by the effort made by the referees, however we are also under a lot of pressure from the televi- poned rounds cannot be held on dates of predetermined ones. Giorgos Vasiliadis. PHOTO: APE/MPE sion networks, so it is a matter of livelihood for the football associations if the league is postponed any further," said a spokesman for the clubs. It is worth noting that the clubs voted in favour of continuing the league by 13 to three, with only Olympiacos, Aris and Panionios going against the decision. In fact Olympiacos took things a step further, arguing against this decision in the court of the Greek Federation as they state that it goes against the League's own rule that post- Meanwhile, the Minister of Culture and Sports of Greece Giorgos Vasiliadis has announced that there is an ongoing investigation and that the authorities are very close to finding those responsible for the attack on the referee, pointing out that this is just the tip of the iceberg of all the problems that Greek football is dealing with. Finally, on Friday 4 Janu- ary, a meeting was to be held between all the parties in charge of football, including the Greek Football Federation, the Super League, the Referee Committee (KED), the state officials, police and representatives of FIFA and UEFA. The topic of course was to be the security of the referees and how it can be assured henceforth. Should their requests be satisfied, it is highly possible they may even announce an end to their strike.
22 December 2018
12 January 2019