Sunday, 13 February 2011

Hellenic Cup Final - South Melbourne 2 Heidelberg 1

We had to come from behind, rode our luck and needed extra time, but we got there in the end, winning our third Hellenic Cup in five years. Osagie Ederaro shook off several defenders on our left hand side to slot the ball past Stefaan Sardelic to give the Bergers the lead, before late in the first half some great work by Kyle Joryeff saw him win a contested ball and send in the perfect cross for Jesse Krncevic to score from point blank range. Both sides had their chances to take the lead in the second half, though as the game wore on I felt we were the more dominant of the two sides, after a slow start. In the first half of extra time, Marinos Gasparis ripped out a wonderful goal which have Griffin McMaster no chance - you could tell it was going to go over his head almost immediately - and we did enough to hold on to win the cup.

The crowd seemed smaller than last year, perhaps due to the absence of one of the south-east based sides in the final. Jesse Krncevic was one of several players to receive some heavy tackles - he was subbed off late in the match, but will hopefully be right to play against Green Gully in round one. Defensively we looked shaky at times, mostly through trying to be too smart with the ball, but nothing dramatically different to last year as of yet, except for the now apparent lack of depth. Sardelic had a good game with some excellent saves, but needs to work on his clearances, and when we're in the lead, not look to rush to get rid of the ball.

It's still very early days having yet to meet the full force of grinding, results oriented, VPL football, but we moved the ball well, and played with some style, in complete contrast to almost everything we presented last year. Joryeff has seemed a more complete player over this pre-season period than all of last season, and we all hope he can take that sort of attitude and form into the real stuff. Jesse Krncevic looks like he will be that class striker that we've lacked for years, with the exception of an aging Vaughan Coveny. Sebastian Petrovic, criminally ignored last season, looked like he hadn't missed a beat. All in all, more positive signs than negative ones but the real test of course starts from next week.

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