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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 15 June 2019
SPORT 26 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 15 JUNE 2019 winners WINNERS ASHLEIGH BARTY The 23-year-old from Queensland is no longer considered one of the “next big things” in women’s tennis, with her huge success at the Roland Garros putting her among the greats of the sport. She faced little opposition as she propelled herself all the way to the final, and there was little Marketa Vondrousova could do to prevent her from winning her first Grand Slam title. This trophy launches her all the way to number two in the worldwide rankings, yet we still have plenty more to see from the young Australian. NICOL KYRIAKOPOULOU When you make it to number three and you consider it a huge disappointment, that clearly says something about your stature as an athlete. Nicol Kyriakopoulou claimed the bronze medal in the low jump at the Paavo Nurmi competition in Finland, stopping at 4.46 metres. She was unsuccessful in her last two efforts at 4.68 and 4.72 metres, so she was limited to the third spot, which is still a great result. Her next opportunity to excel will be at the Diamond League in Rabat. ANGE POSTECOGLOU Very often we talk about a lack of home-bred coaches with international experi- SINNERS GREEK NATIONAL TEAM Where to even begin? Should we start with the horrendous formation? Or how about examining the complete surrender in both games against Italy and Armenia? The locker rooms that seem to be in shambles? The total disagreement between coach and players? Greece played two games against entirely different opponents, yet wasn’t able to live up to the challenge of either game. Aggelos Anastasiadis’ instructions were muddled and confusing, his players were all over the place and they just couldn’t follow the plan. Then he appeared in front of the media and just claimed that everything was a-okay, placing the blame on the heavens! Afterwards the Greek captain Papastathopoulos openly came out and said things needed to change if Greece is to move forward. Was he right or wrong? Who knows? The only thing that is apparent is that the Greek team is in turmoil. NICK KYRGIOS What else are we going to see from the capricious young athlete? In his most recent demonstration, he managed to lose his opening game for the Stuttgart Open against Italian Mateo Berretini in under an hour, putting on a disappointing performance for an athlete of his level (3-6, 4-6). The main reason behind his poor form were the... NBA Finals, as Kyrgios had stayed up the night before to watch the game between the Raptors and the Warriors, Tweeting about it on his Twitter page. That’s Kyrgios for you! Aggelos Anastasiadis appears to be taking the Greek national team down a path to ruin. PHOTO: APE/MPE Barty’s success and Greece’s double let-down ence on the football scene. Ange Postecoglou seems to be the one exemption from that rule. After helping the Yokohama Marinos escape relegation last season, Postecoglou’s team has come back with a vengence and are currently sitting at third place on goal differ- ence with Kawasaki, just six points shy of Tokyo FC who are at the top of the table. It seems he has adjusted to the Japanese style and the results are impressive, if nothing else. Just goes to show how much Australian coaches could benefit from working abroad. sinners & DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM by alex anyfantis Just as every week, we choose the Winners and Sinners of Greek and Australian sport South & Cannons fall at the final hurdle in FFA Cup qualifiers GEORGE STOGIANNOU For the first time in the history of the FFA Cup, the national stage of the competition (Round of 32) will have no Victorian-based Greek clubs after the mid-week elimination of the two remaining teams, Oakleigh Cannons and South Melbourne. South's dream of reaching the FFA Cup round of 32 ended up in pieces on the Knights Stadium ground in their 4-2 loss to Melbourne Knights on Wednesday night. The chief wrecker for the Knights was their big Kiwi striker Hamish Watson who scored a hat trick. South's defence never got to grips with Watson's physical presence. After the visitors made a bright start, winning several corners, they were caught short at the back, on transition through a Knights counter-attack which led to Watson receiving the ball on the edge of the penalty box with just young South full back Bruce Djiba barring his way. A quick step inside and a shot from his right boot, wrong footed South keeper Nikola Roganovic, to give Watson and the Knights the opening goal of the match in the ninth minute. The Knights threatened to double their lead but South equalised from a set piece against the run of play when defender Kristian Konstantinidis rose above his marker to nod the ball into the net in the Oakleigh Cannons’ keeper John Honos’ extra time heroics weren’t enough to see his side qualify for the FFA Cup Rd of 32. PHOTO: SUPPLIED 27th minute. The Knights responded almost immediately by taking the lead again when a Watson header from a Mikulic cross found the back of the net. South was forced to make a first half substitution with Perry Lambropoulos coming on to replace an injured Kostas Stratomitros as the holding midfielder. South continued to look vulnerable to the Knights' purposeful counterattacks with Mohamad Awad and Watson looking dangerous. After the break the Knights again pushed forward looking for a third goal, whilst South struggled to mount coherent attacks. An awful defensive mix-up between South's keeper and defender gifted the Knights and Watson their third goal in the 70th minute, before South striker Billy Konstantinidis gave South fans some hope with a 75th minute goal through a far post header from a Gerry Sylaidos cross. South sub Leigh Minopoulos then had a chance to equalise only to fire a weak shot at Knights keeper Jordan Gifkins. Instead, minutes later at the other end, the Knights scored a fourth and final goal of the match when midfielder Ivan Grgic headed home a corner, sending the Knights through to the Dockerty Cup semi-finals and the FFA Cup Rd of 32 at South's expense. The night before South's loss, Oakleigh Cannons also came to grief in their FFA Cup qualifier/ Dockerty Cup quarter final tie, losing away to Hume City 2-3 in a penalty shoot-out after the match ended scoreless following extra time. The Cannons had keeper John Honos to thank for reaching penalties in the first place after he made several excellent saves to deny Hume City in extra time. But it was Hume's keeper Michael Weier who proved the matchwinner in the penalty shootout saving three out of five Cannons' penalty kicks. Alex faces uncertain Dutch club future GEORGE STOGIANNOU Greek Australian footballer Alex Gersback faces an uncertain club future in the Netherlands, following the relegation of his current club NAC Breda from the Dutch Eredivisie to the second division. The Sydney-born left back, joined the Dutch club Breda in January this year on a two and a half year deal from Norwegian club Rosenborg, after spending part of 2018 on loan to French club Lens. Speaking to the World Game whilst on a visit to his hometown following the completion of the Dutch season, Gersbach said of his recently completed season: "Things didn't work out and we got relegated but I still have two years left on my contract. We'll see what happens in the coming weeks but at the moment I am a NAC player. Of course football can change quickly and you never know. I'm not worried too much. Things will take care of themselves. I would rather be playing in the Eredivisie but we weren't good enough to stay up." He states that the situation was still fixable when he joined, before the bad 10game run. "It's the first time I've been involved in something like that (going down). A year earlier at Lens (on loan from Rosenborg) was a similar situation but not quite as bad." With six Socceroos caps to his name, including a debut against Greece, Gersbach last played for his country in January this year, coming off the bench in a pre-Asian Cup friendly against Oman. A groin injury kept the 22 year old from being considered for this month's recent Socceroos friendly against South Korea, but he hopes to come back into contention for Socceroos selection in future matches. "It would have been nice to be involved in the Korea game because I've sat on the bench for the Socceroos for the last three years and don't want to keep doing that," said the former winner of the Harry Kewell medal, in 2017, which is a PFA award for the best U23 player in the country. "I want to play, be in squads and be involved on the pitch and contribute for my country. "Right now, the main thing for me is focusing on getting things right at club level. "Obviously the relegation hasn't helped that but next season - whether I'm with NAC or somewhere else - I just want to focus on that side of things and the rest will take care of itself. "Next season is an important one for me."
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