Friday, 9 February 2018

Jean-Claude Van Damme's "Pound of Flesh" is not a good movie - South Melbourne 3 Gunagzhou R&F 0

I was not there last night, had other things to do, and none of those people who did attend have put their hand up to do a guest match report. So what you're going to get instead is a patchwork quilt of stuff I've gleaned from he web about this game.

First, it's important to reiterate an important point: this was not Guangzhou Evergrande, the seven times consecutive winners of the Chinese Super League and two-time winners of the Asian Champions League, This was their smaller and significantly less successful city rival Guangzhou R&F. That doesn't mean they don't have resources at their disposal which would put them well outside our reach, but you know, the opponent is not as prestigious as some people may have inadvertently thought they may have been.

It also doesn't mean that this Guangzhou R&F don't have other things going for them.
This was also not the first time we've played Guangzhou R&F this pre-season; we played them last Saturday evening in a behind closed doors game, losing 4-1, with perhaps a mix of senior and youth players from our side, though I can't verify that.
Guangzhou R&F have also been busy playing some other teams; before our last Saturday game, they played Oakleigh two days prior, and two days before yesterday's game they'd played Melbourne Heart, and on Sunday they play Dandenong Thunder. As you can see, it's a crowded schedule, and the squads Guangzhou R&F are likely to be using for each friendly are going to have a high degree of variability.

Someone noted of yesterday's game that our guests used a reserve squad for the first half, and a fuller strength side for the second. The reserves therefore would be made up of Chinese players, whose quality I can't gauge from the comfort of my home office, but. Unlike the A-League teams, Chinese sides seems to adhere to the AFC's 3+1 foreigner rule, but they're still fully professional whereas we're a glorified pub team, a gastro-pub team if you like.

For ourselves, it was a pretty full-strength squad, probably close to what you'd see for round one against Bulleen.
Martin (no first name provided) is a defender, probably a visa slot candidate, unsigned as yet as far as I'm aware. Not much evidence of youth team players there, for those who are going to ride that hobby-horse for superior and/or ulterior motives.

We were 2-0 (Lujic, Konstantinidis) up at the break, and added a third (Brennan) in the second half. From what I can gather from the piecemeal information floating around, we looked good going forward, very exciting, and lousy going back the other way. Those hoping for clues in that description to something of how a Sasa Kolman team might play should perhaps temper their excitement just a bit; even under the late Chris Taylor era during this pre-season, the team looked OK going forward and less than adequate defensively. Nevertheless, one can't be disappointed with the performance, only cautious as to what actual worth can be extracted from it. Some people are born optimists, while others are hoping for some evidence that we are going to be shit-hot after the turmoil of the past couple of weeks.

Of course what's a pre-season friendly win of indiscernible worth without South fans, their current politically adjacent affiliates, and aspiring doyens of the local soccer press going off half-cocked just because they can?
Sometimes South fans are like a bloke who has caught a glimpse of side-boob, getting excited beyond all measure of reasonableness to the point where he's started planning the wedding. In our case, when we see something approximating hope, we rush out to vote for every online poll no matter how meaningless it is
and end up making ourselves feel like dirt when nothing comes of it. There was a solid contingent of Chinese supporters in attendance, many more than South fans. I don't know who they were, how they got there, and whether they'll be back. OK, I don't think they'll be back, but I suppose for those South fans who were there it was nice to see a decent crowd for whatever it was that was happening last night.

There was also this
which I assume lead to the halftime melee that some reported, which saw the ejection of Lujic and Epifano, as well two players from the opposition. Sounds like it was am eventful night all round.

And he's gone
Like Jason Hicks and Francesco Stella before him, off-season South Melbourne signing Sam Smith has moved on to another club without playing a single legitimate game for us and indeed, like the others mentioned before the season has even started. In Smith's case, he's ended up at Port Melbourne. After all our efforts to get Smith - one rumoured attempt before he re-signed at Gold Coast City, and then as Gold Coast City got into an administrative mess we lured him down to Victoria - it seems like an odd decision,

Truth be told, I never saw much in his pre-season form (when I was paying attention) to get excited about. Others were far more critical of his skill level. I'll say this: judging from his highlights package, he looks like a classic out-and-out striker, and during pre-season we seemed to be trying to play him a lot on the wing, hoping as we've done since he left us to find the next Jaime Reed. It didn't work out, Smith would've taken up a visa spot we're apparently keen on using on a defender, these things happen. If that's the worst thing that happens during this off-season, we're doing OK.

In a similar vein, forward Amir Osmancevic, who had been trialling with us (and who did look impressive at times), has ended up at Pascoe Vale. Likewise, Kaine Sheppard has ended up at Avondale, or so people say. Oh, and Iqi Jawadi's back.


  1. OK, saw I've seen highlights of all three goals now, and while credit to our team for being able to execute three counter-attacks, how bad was whatever it was that the Chinese mob were supposed to be doing?

  2. It was a nice result, but let's not get too excited. The important stuff begins at Round 1 against Bulleen.

  3. Medhi Martin was the player was at Knights last year


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