"Oooh Aaah Carltona"
Cagalj Colosimo Cervinski Douglas Stergiopolous Markovac Atkinson Bresciano Vlahos Tricarico Josifovski
We lined up, again, in a lopsided 4-back formation. The suspensions to Marth and Lapansky and the injury (injury!) to Dino meant we couldn't afford to mess around further with the backline or midfield.
David Cervinski came in to give us much needed height and aggresssion, Atkinson shifted upfield, Sterg went to the right and Douglas covered the left. It was almost a 442 except Sullen Simon was sweeping in all his majestic glory. Adrian Caglaj got his first start in the NSL and did well.
Sullen Simon walking around talking to a couple of mates before the game with such a hangdog expression I felt the need to alleviate the obvious disappointment of AC Milan not yet offering a multimillion dollar contract. But no, it would appear that all was right with Simon's world and he was playing. "Good luck" "Ta". You get the idea, etc. The warning signs of egoism and narcissm a few weeks ago has blown out into a fully developed headcase. Only kidding Simes, keep it up.
Shared a few drinks with Messrs Jaworsky and Georgiadis in the Jack Reilly bar. Mr. Smith was loitering with intent outside and refused to come in, I would refuse to come in if I was such a sad Souths supporter as well.
Mr. Christopher had obviously been lumped with the rugrats for the afternoon and was adopting a surly attitude. Although we were heartened by the usual escapades emerging from across the river. Mr Postecglocou has apparently let the GF win get to his head, sacking his assistant and running offside with his players. When Mr. Boutsianis completes his duties to the Crown, expect it to hit the fan.
Of greater interest was the injustice meted out by referees to Victorian- based clubs this season. Mr. Smith was of opinion that even we were done badly in Brisbane and that the Powers-that-be were keen on a Marconi-Spirit GF at the SFS in front of 40k, basing this opinion on the refereeing (he called it cheating) at the Marconi-Souths game. I think I have found a bloke entirely sympathetic to the Sydney bias to moan with...
The game itself was of comparable quality to Brisbane-Carlton but with a few goals scattered here and there. The opening half hour was spent by two very nervous teams trying not to mess it up. Carlton succeeded more than somewhat, owing a lot to Moreira's presence on the bench.
Tricarico and Markovac combined well down the right with Tricarico shaking his marker and slipping a beautiful low cross around the back of the defence. Shank Cervinski coming in at the far post caught it off his shin and it bounced languidly into the net. Hey, they all count.
Vlahos, a steady performer on the left, sent Tricarico away on a diagonal run into the box. Tricarico, as a professional matter, should have gone down when Knezevic came out to get it, but he stayed on his feet and lost it.
It was mainly Carlton, but Cosmos' Buljan was causing all sorts of problems and shot narrowly over twice in the opening half, once a rocket shot that had Cagalj flapping at empty air. A tricky little player on a bad team. Zelic was a cut above the rest and those two are on a Mission:Impossible.
"Hey, how's that Mustafa dude at Souths?" me to Damian
"****** *** **** ****** excellent, better than ******* **** Cuzzupe"
"Yeah? We got the VIS guys last year, you got em this year"
"You can't have it all you ******* ***** ****** prick!!"
In between, there was the occasional brickbat. S. Douglas of the home team was very popular, I have no idea why. Roly? It is also customary for the referees to be abused at Optus Oval but I was so far away I couldn't be arsed to do anything.
In the second, Markovac crossed from inside the box, the ball coming off Josifovski's shoulder to a grateful Knezevic. Vlahos was dominant and I really think he is becoming an essential player. He's not particularly brilliant, but a good passer, shooter and clever with it. His excessive dribbling has been toned down and he's a better player with it.
Our second came from a long pass from midfield (defence?) which Tricarico raced onto and hooked over the advancing Knezevic. There was some confusion over the rightful goalscorer with Mr. Smith and Georgiadis claiming Josifovski got it. I initially though it was Tricarico, the scoreboard had Tricarico and Mr. Christopher said it Tricarico and Tricarico it is.
It was a sad indictment on Canberra that they couldn't do anything in midfield in the absence of Marth and Lapansky. Those two are a great combination, but we also need some creativity in it. I think Stergiopolous will drop down to make way next week - even if he had a good game today.
Colosimo really is our best player and there is a school of thought that he should play in midfield. A breathtaking outside-foot swerved pass to Tricarico that was closed down summed up his passing ability. But I don't know... On one had we need more creativity upfield, the other says sweeper is his best position.
Troubles in the Cosmos camp - Barlow came on for Knezevic, who walked straight around the pitch, in no discernible pain, to a rousing chorus from the lads (ie us). Their other subs wanted to get out of playing strip ASAP.
There was time for Vlahos to place a shot off the crossbar, Moreira to miss a free back-post header and for Josifovski and Markovac to both go for Colosimo's cross. A double negative is never a positive.
Bresciano sealed the game with a screaming effort just outside the box that an unsighted Barlow had no chance with. Bresciano is a player who seems to be struggling this season, perhaps with expectations. He has scored a couple this season but could perhaps do with a rest.
Grbac, whom we will see more of came on, as did Della Rocca, who has got his chance thanks to injury and call-ups. It is customary that when losing teams vacate the pitch at OO they receive a few raspberries from the lads. I couldn't give it to Rasic, for reasons probably obvious.
Next week is el classico grande, Souths vs Carlton in what I hope/think will be a brutal battle. 2 full strength teams or therabouts with a lot of history and grievances to settle. Carlton have all the motivation and Souths none. What I'd give to borrow Jonesy for this match... Let us recall of course the corresponding fixture last season :
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