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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 26 October 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 26 OCTOBER 2019 27 SPORT Al Hassan Toure shines brightly, leading Reds to Third FFA Cup win GEORGE STOGIANNOU Adelaide United romped away with its third FFA Cup trophy finishing far ahead of challengers Melbourne City on the scoreboard in Wednesday night's final at Cooper's stadium. But as United winger Ben Halloran level-headedly commented immediately after the match, amongst the euphoria of another FFA Cup final win, the 4-0 score line was probably an unfair reflection of the game. The match certainly showed that a goal can make all the difference. Whilst City forwards Jamie Maclaren and Lachlan Wales let United off the hook by missing clear chances to score in the opening 20 minutes, young Adelaide striker Al Hassan Toure made the most of a first half chance to give his team the advantage in the first half. After collecting a pass from full back Ryan Strain, Toure unexpectedly fired a shot from an acute angle, beating a red-faced City keeper Dean Bouzanis at his near post, and giving his team a 1-0 lead. Both teams appeared to be relying on long balls out of defence to launch attacks in the first half, with City winger Wales gaining possession but without producing a decisive end product. Reds' winger Halloran, who had a frustrating first half, doubled his teams' lead soon after the restart after young Toure showed strength and balance to outmanoeuvre powerful City defender Harrison Delbridge, before releasing team mate Riley McGree who then provided the assist for Halloran to finish first time. Halloran then turned provider, following another McGree pass, to set up fellow winger Nikola Mileusnic for a 59th minute tap-in at the far post. Young Adelaide United striker Al Hassan Toure holds the FFA Cup aloft (L), while Riley McGree holds Toure after his goal gives his team the lead (R). Craig Noone looked set to pull City back into the match but his shot from the edge of the box flashed narrowly wide of the target. City coach Erick Mombaerts changed his formation to three at the back, throwing tall defender Delbridge into the forward line alongside MacLaren, but to little effect. Former Melbourne City player McGree drove the dagger into the heart of City by adding a fourth goal in the 74th minute to complete the scoring. After the match, young Guinean born striker Toure capped his meteoric rise from obscurity by adding the Mark Viduka medal for man of the match in the Cup Final, to an FFA Cup winners medal. His goal in the final was his fifth in five FFA Cup match appearances this season. He also scored on his A-League debut this season. Greek kids honoured at South Australian football awards Four Greek Australians are amongst recipients of awards at the 2019 Football South Australia Celebration Awards held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Saturday 12 October with more than 900 members of the South Australian football family in attendance. Adelaide Olympic's Christos Pounendis received the NPL Golden Boot Award and was named as a forward in the NPL 'Team of the Year'. Christos scored 19 goals in 22 games in the last season. Eighteen-year-old Peter Katsambis received the NPL Reserves Player of the Year Award. Peter played with Croydon Kings last season, which earlier this year won the FFSA Cup Reserves Championship. Peter's passion for football has seen him progress from his early years with West Adelaide, NTC and Adelaide United Reserves. Alysia Panagakos ("Pana") was awarded the WNPL Reserves Player of the Year. Pana was sidelined with injury for the first eight rounds of the season but came back with great success at the Adelaide University Soccer Club. Pana was the captain of the Reserves team which won both the Championship and the Premiership. To top it off, West Adelaide's WNPL captain Elena Psaroulis was named as a defender in the 'Team of the Year'. Unveiling of a new brand and name change for Football Federation South Australia to Football South Australia also took place during the awards Christos Pounendis, winner of the Golden Boot. Peter Katsambis in action. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED Alysia Panagakos showing what she’s made of. Elena Psaroulis, defender in the ‘Team of the Year’. Tsitsipas finds strong partner to lead Greece to Davis Cup success Greek tennis superstar Stefanos Tsitsipas says he has found in Michail Pervolarakis a strong and dependable number two for the Greek Davis Cup team after the team's success in seeing off Poland in a tough encounter during the recent Europe Group III Davis Cup event at Tatoi Club in Athens. The 23-year-old Pervolarakis, who is of Greek and Cypriot parentage, won three of his four singles matches and played a key role with Tsitsipas to see Greece progress to the Group II play offs next March. He teamed up with Tsitispas to win a tight three-set doubles match against the experienced Polish duo of Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski. It was the first time both Greek players had played in a Davis Cup competition. "I am really proud of him. He's a really nice kid," said Tsitsipas, aged 21, of his older team mate. "I really feel him, like his calmness, his psychological balance when he's on the court, it's very, very inspiring, even though he's not yet in the top 100, I feel I can learn a lot from him and get as much as I can from him because he's something different from what you see regularly on the tour." Pervolarakis turned professional about a year ago, soon after finishing his college tennis career at the University of Portland. He is based near Seattle where he lives with his wife, Amelia. They are expecting their first child. Last year, he qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in singles and is only the second player from his university to have achieved this. Pervolara- kis considers the college tennis route a good option for aspiring Greek players. Rising Greek tennis star Michail Pervolarakis proved a strong partner with superstar Stefanos Tsitsipas to help Greece progress into Group II of the Davis Cup in March, next year. "A lot of kids when they are 18, they are not sure what they want to do and college tennis provides a great environment. Even if you want to make it as a professional tennis player, at the same time you have a degree as a second option. "It's not too late. I started playing professionally when I was 22. I am 23 now and it's not too late. I mean the top 100 average age is pretty high, 27. So there is plenty of time, even if you go to college." Pervolarakis is currently ranked 462nd in the world and is looking for a coach who will help him to rise in the rankings. Of Tsitsipas, Pervolarakis said he enjoyed the experience of getting to know and play with the world number 7. "He's a great person. I would consider him my friend al- ready, even though I've known him for seven or 10 days. He's very nice to talk to. And he's a great tennis player to practice with. "The team we have created I think will help everyone on every single dimension," said Pervolarakis For Tsitsipas the Davis Cup experience was reinvigorating, coming as it did after a fourmatch losing streak, starting with his semi-final loss to Nick Kyrgios in Washington. He said he was able to reset his mindset, flying the flag for Greece and guiding the team to third place in the group. "I played a lot of matches, that's good for me. The level of tennis was not the highest that I am used to playing, but definitely psychologically I think it helps and I can leave from here with good memories in the back of my head and good moments that I shared with the team." While "Stef Mania" was in full swing during Davis Cup week, Tsitsipas said the crowd helped to lift him on many occasions. "I don't want to over exaggerate, but I feel like the crowd is playing for me. And this is a big thing, it doesn't happen often. And now that I've discovered Davis Cup for the very first time, I might want to play it more often," said Tsitsipas who is keen to maintain the momentum into the new year. "Now that we put so much ef- fort to get to the play-offs, it's important to keep it going. I don't want to leave it on the side and not pay attention to it. Because I care for my country, I care about the team and I think we have chances to progress even more."
19 October 2019
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