For the first time this season the Georgies have put together back to back victories in the Victorian Premier League Foxtel Cup with a superb all round performance at a summery Bob Jane Stadium defeating the Champions South Melbourne 2-0, boosting confidence amongst players and fans alike of securing Premier league football for 2008.
SOUTH MELBOURNE 0 SUNSHINE GEORGE CROSS 2 (KALMAR 78', CINI 87')
LINE UP: John, Azzopardi,Tsoumerkas(Cini 53'),Napoli,Dimovski,Delic,Magnacca, Kalmar,Gilmour,Talevski,Opazo(Trpcevski 88') Subs not used: Fiorenza,Soares,Esposito
The stadium by the lake has been a scene of heartache for the Cross in the past two seasons however on this late afternoon the Cross looked more like a top six team poised for the championship in its endeavour, style of football, and when going forward.
On a perfect flat pitch, the Georgies dictated the play almost from start to finish against the more fancied big name hosts, and left their own fans asking the question "why not more performances like this earlier in the season?"
In the first half it seemed that the Cross' luckless season in front of goal would continue as both Alfonso Opazo and Anthony Magnacca spurned chances to take the lead. Magnacca's chance especially was one that, after a cross from Goran Talevski across the six yard box, seemed net bound from close range but to the Cross supporters disbelief Magnacca somehow missed the target from point blank range at the back post. Earlier in the first half Opazo could not get over a free header from a deep cross as the ball sailed high and wide.
South Melbourne's only decent patch through the game came early in the second half to create a couple of chances as the Georgies seemed unsettled with the injury and exit from the game of key central defender Lee Tsoumerkas, forcing John Markovski to alter the back four into a back three of Napoli, Azzopardi and Dimovski with the introduction of Matt Cini into the midfield to relieve the hard working Dusko Delic who in turn had to sacrifice his attacking game to support the back three.
However South wasted these chances and allowed the Cross to take the initiative again finding spaces in the midfield to run at and exploit the very square and static back four of the Champions.
The attacking pressure finally paid off as Nick Kalmar unleashed one of his trademark strikes from outside of the area in the 78th minute to loop over the keeper and into the net. Then nine minutes later in the 87th super sub Cini found himself on the end of a long ball and an error by the South defence to slot home the loose ball in the area running square to the goal, sealing a grand 2-0 win over the old NSL rivals.
The precious win elevates the Cross out of the relegation zone for the first time in 7 weeks to 12th position and with momentum now the ally of the Cross a midweek clash against another ex NSL rival in the Melbourne Knights looms.