Transfer rumour: Milos Dimitrijevic to Sydney FC

Monday, 6 January 2014 5:39 PM

Transfer rumour: Milos Dimitrijevic to Sydney FC

Sydney FC look set to add to their Serbian ranks with the signing of former Serbia youth international, Milos Dimitrijevic.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Sydney FC are keen to sign Dimitrijevic for the remainder of the Hyundai A-League season.

Dimitrijevic is a 29-year-old midfielder, raised in France. He played for Nantes and Grenoble in France, before returning to his country of birth with Rad Belgrade.

His performances there earned him a move to Italian Serie A side, Chievo, before eventually making his way home to Red Star Belgrade. After two seasons, Dimitrijevic walked away from the game and he hasn’t played since April.

He would join Nikola Petkovic and Ranko Despotovic as Sydney FC’s resident Serbians.

Petkovic has been one of Sydney FC’s best players this season after arriving shortly before the start of the season, whilst Despotovic’s mid-season arrival has had an immediate impact. The forward has scored four goals in seven appearances.

Dimitrijevic has already completed a medical at the Sky Blues, but coach Frank Farina would need to offload one of their existing foreign players in order to fit the midfielder in to their currently full roster.

“He’s played some for some big clubs in Europe and that’s a good sign of his pedigree,” Sydney FC CEO Tony Pignata told Fairfax Media.

“He’s already done his medical at training this morning.”

“While he’s a free agent we simply don’t have a spot for him right at this time,” Pignata added.

“I said that to Milos’ agent and he said that he was still happy to come over and trial with us, which is great. So we’ll see what can be done about freeing up a position on our list.”


Football Federation Australia

Half-term report card: Western Sydney Wanderers

Monday, 6 January 2014 5:18 PM

Half-term report card: Western Sydney Wanderers

It was always going be difficult to follow the fairytale of the Western Sydney Wanderers’ inaugural season.

And, to that degree, they have done a very good job of consolidating their spectacular debut year.

It is a well told story that after struggling to even score a goal in their opening few matches, they went on to win the Premiership and make the Grand Final.

Wanderers’ first-yearn foundation was in defence: club captain Michael Beauchamp, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and their evergreen goalkeeper, Ante Covic.

The trio remain, though Beauchamp is rarely sighted these days, with new signing Matthew Sprianovic preferred instead.

They have replaced fan favourite Dino Kresinger, with hotshot striker Tomi Juric, who has scored four times, despite missing five games in a row with injury.

But their attitude and their ethos remains the same and whilst others have faltered around them, they sit second, albeit seven points in arrears of Brisbane Roar.

They sit ahead of both Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory, who have both gone through the trauma of a mid-season coaching change. Heading into the Sydney Derby, Wanderers are four points clear of their cross-town rivals.

Wanderers’ miserly defence has again served them well. In 13 matches, they have conceded just 11 goals and Covic has kept six clean sheets.

Their relative inconsistency lies in their attack. With just 15 goals scored in 13 games, it is obvious that they are over reliant on Juric, who has scored four times in seven matches. More tellingly, Wanderers looked toothless in the five matches that he was absent.

Only the hyper-negative would suggest that Wanderers are unable to repeat their Premiership win and with the second half of the season upon them, they are well placed to make an impression in their second season.

STAR MAN: Tomi Juric

The big number 9 was signed from Adelaide United in the off-season and his arrival facilitated the departure of the much loved Dino Kresinger, whose cult like status was only embellished by his back-flick goal in the semi final last year.

Juric is an altogether different prospect. Big and strong with a deadly eye in front of goal, Juric’s ability to hold the ball up provides Wanderers with a valuable outlet that they often use when under pressure.

Juric appears exempt from Popovic’s constant rotation, though he is probably influenced by how flat Wanderers seemed in front of goal during Juric’s injured enforced absence.

Four goals in seven matches has some pundits calling for Juric to be on the plane to Brazil. If he maintains his scoring rate, he will give Ange Postecoglous something to think about.


Tony Popovic’s arrival on the scene last season saw him mentioned in dispatches when the Socceroos top job became available.

After cutting his teeth at Sydney FC and Crystal Palace, Popovic’s biggest challenge is keeping Wanderers towards the top of the pile, amidst the expectation created by their first season success and their burgeoning fan-base.

He has rotated his side constantly and his treatment of Beauchamp proves that nobody is exempt. The regular changes keep the players on their toes, but on the flipside it is difficult to create a settled starting side.

Popovic’s astute signing of Spiranovic has paid dividends with the defender usurping Beauchamp, whilst his use of substitutes has often been wise, particularly in the way he uses Labinot Haliti and Brendon Santalab.

He will hope that their sluggish start to the season is behind them and they can make a full-scale tilt at the Premiership as the season enters its second half.


The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not reflect those of Football Federation Australia.


Football Federation Australia

Team of the Week | Round 13

Monday, 6 January 2014 2:00 PM

Team of the Week | Round 13

As we near the midpoint of season nine the following XI did their best to ensure their team started 2014 in the best possible way.

Player of the Week: Stein Huysegems

The Belgian striker has found his scoring boots for the Phoenix, netting his third match winner in as many weeks. Huysegems scored a brace against the Wanderers to help orchestrate arguably the upset of the season. The ‘Nix No. 10 did it all himself to put his side in front and banked the result late on with a clever back-heel finish. After going the first 10 rounds without a win, the Kiwi side now have the top six very much in their sights.


Danny Vukovic: Many football pundits have spruiked Danny Vukovic as the form ‘keeper of the competition this season and he was at his best again to help Perth take maximum points from the Jets. Vukovic was called upon to make eight saves from shots on target on his way to keeping his fifth cleansheet of the season. Among them was his controversial clearance off the line to deny Kew Jaliens which help ensure Glory nicked all three points.


Round 13 TOTW



Ivan Franjic: The Socceroos defender has been a model of consistency for the Roar this season and put in another solid shift at the back to see the league leaders past title challengers Victory. Franjic was part of a Roar backline which has the equal-best defence in the league and loves to provide an option in attack. He was a constant threat down the right-flank against Kevin Muscat’s men and surely a World Cup spot beckons if he maintains his current form.

Manny Muscat: Muscat has been Mr Fix-it for the Phoenix this season, deployed across the Wellington backline to plug holes in their defence. On the back of signing a new two-year deal to remain with the New Zealand club, Muscat helped restrict an attacking Wanderers outfit to a solitary goal on their home patch. The Maltese international has been pivotal in the Phoenix’s recent revival and his pairing with Durante continues to pay dividends as they banked another three points.

Jack Clisby: Since being elevated to the senior side to help cover a depleted Glory backline, Jack Clisby has shown he has what it takes to make it in the Hyundai A-League. The 21-year-old got through a mountain of work against the Jets who were chasing the game. The former Sorrento junior held firm to help propel the Jets and earn his side an invaluable three points.

Aziz Behich: It’s pretty rare that the Mariners are kept scoreless at home and few people gave the Heart a chance in Gosford. However Behich held up his end of the bargain, helping to ensure Heart kept a rare cleansheet in John van’t Schip’s first game back in charge. On loan from Bursapor in Turkey, Behich was ever-reliable at the back and made some good choices on the ball as the Red and White dominated possession but couldn’t find a critical goal.


Steven Lustica: The Adelaide United midfielder is a no-nonsense type of footballer and an underrated talent in a Reds side that are gradually getting reward for their new style of football. The former Roar player joined the Reds at the start of the season on a free transfer from Hajduk Split and has embraced the short-passing game Gombau has brought to Coopers Stadium. The 22-year-old was again purposeful against the Sky Blues with his distribution and stood up in the face of several injuries.

Liam Miller: The Irishman was highly influential and involved in all three goals to ensure the Roar extended their lead at the league’s summit. Miller netted the opener, set-up the second and had a hand in the third as Brisbane moved seven points clear at the top. The former Manchester United player has scored a couple of crucial goals of late and slammed the ball into the bottom left corner of the net on 28 minutes. His link up play with McKay provided the second and no-look through ball helped finish a clinical performance from Brisbane.

Harry Kewell: After enduring a difficult start to the season with injury Harry Kewell is starting to recapture match fitness and his performance against the Mariners suggests the 35-year-old still has plenty to offer. The former Liverpool and Leeds star’s combination with Maltese international Michael Mifsud proved troublesome for Central Coast throughout the contest. Only some lacklustre finishing prevented Heart’s first win of the season but if Kewell continues to play like he did on the weekend three points are surely not far away.


Ranko Despotovic: The Serbian striker was on the scoresheet again as a 10-man Sydney FC fought back to grab a valuable point in Adelaide. Despotovic got on the end of a Richard Garcia cross and tucked the ball home under heavy pressure to open the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes. With Alessandro Del Piero struggling to return to full fitness much of the creative work up front has fallen to the journeyman and his four goals would indicate he looks to have been an astute mid-season signing.

Thomas Broich: The German import was at his mercurial best at AAMI Park, mesmerising the Victory defence with his fleet-footedness and link up play. In the absence of frontman Besart Berisha, Broich has adapted seamlessly to playing further up front. He unselfishly set up Miller for the games’ opener and had a hand in the third when he again teed up Miller as Roar notched their eighth goal in two games.


Football Federation Australia

A-League: Good start for Heart’s John van’t Schip – now for those finishes

January 6, 2014

Sebastian Hassett

Football reporter

Central Coast 0 Melbourne Heart 0


Sliding tackle: Patrick Gerhardt and Nick Montgomery tangle at Bluetongue Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

It would have been unfair to expect Melbourne Heart to win on John van’t Schip’s return to A-League but a fighting draw, away to the reigning champions, proves all is not lost.

This match provided little for the highlights reel yet Heart can be well-pleased their prodigal father avoided the doomed outcome most predicted.

This was one of their better performances of the season, one met by an equally uninspired effort by the hosts, who never clicked into the gear most expected.

If there’s one thing van’t Schip will want to work on it’s the same issue which dogged the tenure of John Aloisi: bad finishing. That cost the visitors what would have been a famous win, especially during a dominant first half.


However, given that very few teams come to Gosford and emerge with much to show, a point and some good combination play is a healthy return.
“After a difficult, hard week for the boys, and getting over the loss to Wellington and the trainer [Aloisi] that went away, they performed very well,” van’t Schip said. “In the first half we dominated. I think we created some good chances and went close to scoring. In the second half we also had some opportunities and some corners, so overall, the score was one we could live with.”

The Dutchman will be especially buoyed by the spritely form of Harry Kewell. He was energetic and competitive, constantly darting into space and demanding the ball.

The 35-year old is slowly but surely clearing the rust out and national coach Ange Postecoglou, watching on in the stands, might have jotted down some enthusiastic dot points. Kewell still believes he’s a shot for Brazil and this occasion showed the ambition isn’t completely fanciful.

But just as the match was marked as a return for van’t Schip, it was meant to be a farewell for one of the A-League’s best players, Michael McGlinchey. The New Zealander has agreed to spend the next 12 months on loan at Japanese club Vegalta Sendai and this was due to be last match in blue and gold.

But the midfielder was struck down with an illness which stripped him of 2.5 kilograms over the weekend and he watched the match from bed.

“I only found out a couple of hours before the game. We tried to give him until the last minute,” said Mariners coach Phil Moss. “We’ve lost Marcos Flores [to a season-ending knee injury], who is a big player, and Mikey is a massive player as well, so it’s going to take time to replace them.”

Van’t Schip’s second tenure almost began in dream fashion when Michael Mifsud jinked his way through the Mariners’ defence after a lovely through ball from Kewell, only for the Maltese international to hit the post.

On the brink of half-time, the same duo nearly unlocked the Mariners again, and Kewell’s cross looked ominous but Mifsud lacked a controlled touch.

Andrew Redmayne might have a hard time remembering his homecoming after being clattered by Daniel McBreen after half-time but the goalkeeper was otherwise looking untroubled.

Half-chances at either end dotted the second half but few merited highlighting. Mitchell Duke’s scorching effort nearly put the hosts ahead three minutes before full time but the scoreless result seemed pre-determined.

While the Mariners fielded a strong side on paper, they were clearly lacking the creative ingenuity of McGlinchey and Flores.

McBreen played as the number 10 and Nick Fitzgerald as the attacking left midfielder but neither replicated the impact of those they replaced.

It’s clear that Moss will have to dip into the transfer market to keep his side in the championship hunt. His pursuit of ex-Mariner Tom Rogic, currently frozen out at Celtic, should be his top priority in the transfer window.
As for van’t Schip, he takes his team away to Perth on a five-day camp in an effort to rejuvenate his beleaguered players. He’ll go there clinging to the hope of salvaging something from this wreckage of a season.

The Sydney Morning Herald

W-League: Canberra United coach says players lacked aggression in loss to Adelaide

January 6, 2014

Chris Dutton


Adelaide players celebrate victory at the end of the match.


Adelaide players celebrate victory at the end of the match. Photo: Daniel Kalisz

Canberra United coach Elisabeth Migchelsen has implored her team to be ruthless and aggressive to chase W-League success, declaring Adelaide had more ”will to win” on Sunday as it beat Canberra for the first time in the competition’s history.

Woeful errors and ”going through the motions” sent Canberra crashing to a loss in its first match of the year, slumping to a 2-0 defeat at Burton Park.

It was the first time perennial struggler Adelaide had beaten championship contender Canberra since the competition started six years ago.

Canberra has had just two training sessions in the past two weeks and star goalkeeper Lydia Williams admitted the team wasn’t ready for the ambush.


”They executed their game plan and we weren’t prepared for it … and we paid,” Williams said.

”It was kind of like we were going through the motions and we weren’t even switched on.”

Canberra was hoping to start the year with a victory to continue its impressive season.

It was only Canberra’s second loss of the campaign and with six games remaining, there’s no need to panic. But the disastrous start to Sunday’s clash was far from ideal as Adelaide capitalised on Canberra’s mistakes and jumped to an early lead.

Adelaide’s Lisa-Marie Woods scored the opener after just nine minutes.

Three minutes later Canberra defender Sally Rojahn misjudged a back-pass to Williams and Racheal Quigley was quick to pounce on the mistake.

Quigley tangled with Williams and earned a penalty shot while Williams was given an yellow card for the incident.

Quigley converted and from there Canberra couldn’t get back in the match despite going on the attack in the second half.

Migchelsen said her team had no excuses for a poor performance, lamenting errors and a lack of aggression as the main reasons for Canberra’s downfall.

Canberra’s two losses this season both followed two weeks off, the first with back-to-back competition byes and the second because of Christmas.

”We were poor in defence, we weren’t aggressive enough or sharp enough and our defence organisation wasn’t good enough,” Migchelsen said.

”We have a lot to work on. We’ll ask the players what’s wrong and how to keep them sharp and focused.

”It was our own fault we lost to Adelaide. Losing happens. It’s up to the players, the focus wasn’t good enough to win the game. Adelaide was more aggressive and had more will to win.”

Canberra will regroup to play against Melbourne Victory in Melbourne on Sunday before returning to the capital for four consecutive home games.

ADELAIDE UNITED 2 (Lisa-Marie Woods 9m, Racheal Quigley 13m pen) beat CANBERRA UNITED 0 at Burton Park.

The Canberra Times

Kim Jong-un holds military rally over New Year’s goal

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently held a military rally to implore his troops to accomplish goals he’d laid out for the new year, Pyongyang’s media reported on Sunday.

The Rodong Sinmun, the communist regime’s main newspaper, said Kim presided over the meeting of troops under the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces in Pyongyang on Saturday. The paper noted that Jang Jong-nam, minister of the People’s Armed Forces, and Ri Yong-gil, head of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army, were present at the rally. Choe Ryong-hae, director of the General Political Bureau, however, was not named as being among the attendees. Choe has emerged as a new key figure of the North Korean leadership among Pyongyang watchers after the North’s young leader executed his uncle in a purge.

In his New Year’s address, Kim stressed that the North will continue to strengthen its military, saying bolstering its defense capabilities is “the most important of all state affairs.”

According to the Rodong Sinmun, the rally started with Jang’s briefing on the state of the military, followed by a discussion among military officers and drafting of their resolution.

The paper reported that the troops reaffirmed their drive to solidify Kim’s leadership and to establish the “elite, revolutionary force” through rigorous training.

The soldiers also said they would cooperate with the civilian sector to reach goals in major construction and economic projects.

Last year, Kim had held similar rallies with the military, factories and cooperative farms across North Korea.

For the second consecutive year, Kim began his series of early-year meetings with the armed forces, further highlighting the regime’s military-first policy.


Yonhap News Agency

Brisbane Roar too strong for Melbourne Victory

January 5, 2014

Michael Lynch


Liam Miller celebrates Roars 1st half goal.

Liam Miller celebrates Roar’s first half goal. Photo: Pat Scala

Brisbane Roar has become a byword in the Australian game for fast, inventive, creative and thoughtful football.

On Saturday might, Mike Mulvey’s team once again showed, with another high-quality performance, that nobody can quibble about its place at the summit of the local game with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park. The win takes the Queenslanders seven points clear at the top of the table and it is easy to see why they are favourites to win their third championship in four seasons.

On this display it is hard to see any of their rivals, including the well-drilled and highly organised Western Sydney, holding out against a side that can strike with such pace and efficiency.

Victory had its chances early – fatal against a team with the qualities of the Roar, which looked capable of stepping up a gear every time it was challenged after an opening 20 minutes when the host side took the game to it.


In truth, the margin of victory could have been heavier for Brisbane had it converted all of its chances.

After the game Victory coach Kevin Muscat told Fox Sports it was a disappointing game. ”It’s unfortunate because we normally don’t perform like that at home … it’s not like us to just go a goal down and crumble and that’s what I saw tonight, the effort’s just disappeared.”

To make matters worse for Muscat, key midfielder Mitch Nichols has looked out of sorts in the past two games, ever since news of a bid from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka broke. Nichols was substituted at half-time, having failed to have his usual impact on the game.

”At this point of time, discussions remain inside the football club and it’s like every other transfer situation,” Muscat said. The hosts finished the night with only 10 men, playing the last 22 minutes a man short after centre back Adrian Leijer’s dismissal for a second yellow card in the 68th minute.

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou was, appropriately, in the stands looking on. His template is to play a fast-paced, passing game supported by a hard-working pressing strategy when his team doesn’t have the ball, and his imprimatur has been clearly stamped on these two sides, both of which he coached before taking on the national team job late last year.

It wasn’t quite looking in a mirror – there are sufficient differences, chiefly in this game Brisbane’s ability to play at a high level for the whole 90 minutes and the impact made by its German midfielder Thomas Broich – but there was a similarity to the overall styles that made for a fascinating, rather than a dull, clash.

Victory could have shaped the game to its advantage inside the opening 10 minutes had Kosta Barbarouses been able to make the best of a gilt-edged opening.

Gui Finkler, restored to the starting line-up for the first time this season, threaded a pass through to the Kiwi frontman whose shot was on target but well saved by Michael Theo. Brisbane had the chance to take the lead shortly afterwards when a Broich cross found Henrique, but his header was saved by Nathan Coe.

Barbarouses again had another opportunity on the quarter hour mark when he took a lofted ball from James Troisi first time, but again Theo was equal. This game was living up to its billing as both sides pressed and probed and tried to retain possession and outpass their opposition.

The opening goal, when it came, was worthy of a top-of-the-table clash, a crisp passing movement begun by former Victory man Diogo Ferreira, Roar’s left back, who got forward and fed Broich. The German’s pass found Liam Miller, who finished cleanly from the right of the penalty area. Roar showed Victory exactly how it is done 10 minutes after the restart when it doubled its advantage through Matt McKay, who started, and then finished a move on the left side of Victory’s penalty area.

The midfielder knocked the ball back to Henrique, who flicked it further back to Miller. McKay had kept on running and when the Irishman played the ball through, McKay was able to get there before Coe and lifted the ball over the keeper and into the empty net.

The three-goal margin was ensured when Dimi Petratos finished off what he had started, collecting a pass inside the area to shoot home in the 67th minute. It was the final nail in the Victory coffin, and the navy blues are now 11 points behind the league leader: it will require an enormous second half of the season to get them anywhere close to the pacesetters.

■In round seven of the W-League, Melbourne Victory ensured it remained firmly on top of the league ladder with a 2-0 win over Western Sydney.

Goals from Caitlin Friend at the 46-minute mark and Beatrice Goad (76) put Victory three points ahead of its nearest rival, the Brisbane Roar, which won 6-2 against Newcastle Jets.

The Sydney Morning Herald