Geelong Advertiser, Monday 16 October 2006, p. 35.
Melbourne Victory went gunning for its eighth straight win in the 2006-07 A-League against Adelaide United at Telstra Dome last night but came up short in a one-nil defeat.
There were 32,368 fans in the ground to cheer on their heroes.
Geelong’s Adrian Leijer missed his first game of the season as a result of an accumulation of yellow cards which led to a one-week suspension.
His place was taken by utility player Steve Pantelidis with Mark Byrnes joining the squad on the bench.
Adelaide’s wingers Socceroo Travis Dodd and former Celtic star Bobby Petta used their pace to unsettle the Victory in the first few minutes, but thereafter the home defence settled to keep them at bay.
Ross Aloisi, elder brother of Socceroo striker John, was booked in the second minute for clumsy foul on Brazilian Fred which provoked a short-lived altercation in mid-pitch, in which Victory’s Grant Brebner was also cautioned.
As the Victory tried to impose its game, Greg Owens and Angelo Costanzo joined those two in Matthew Breeze’s book.
Daniel Allsopp and Fred combined after 17 minutes to set up Adrian Caceres but the latter’s shot was saved by Robert Bajic.
Aloisi drove narrowly wide from a corner kick, but it was Victory which was dictating play.
Archie Thompson was brought down right under the nose of Assistant Referee Hakan Anaz but he ignored the trip.
The closest Victory got to a goal in the first half came on the half hour when Thompson crossed and Matthew Kemp had to knock the ball over his own crossbar from just underneath it as Allsopp closed in.
At half-time the match remained scoreless with the Victory still well in control.
Former Melbourne Knight Michael Valkanis saved Adelaide just after the interval when he managed to block a pass from Allsopp to Thompson who was clear in the goal area.
Victory kept up the pressure and if it had been a boxing match the referee might have called it off, but in soccer an upset is always possible.
In 82 minutes completely against the run of play, Adelaide broke in midfield, Brebner appeared to be pushed over but Nathan Burns picked up the loose ball and fed Greg Owens who had just enough time to dink the ball over Michael Theoklitos for the decisive goal.
The controversy was not over for when Kevin Muscat chased a loose ball over the touchline he came into contact with Adelaide coach John Kosmina whose chair tumbled over as Muscat tried to pick up the ball.
In the fracas which followed Muscat appeared to be booked and Kosmina was sent to the dressing room. Although the referee raised a yellow card his match report did not record a caution for Kevin Muscat.
At the press conference after the match Kevin Muscat said there was nothing in the incident with John Kosmina. “I went to pick up the ball and slipped”, he said. Kosmina also said “I went to pick up the ball and he should not have been in my technical area. I was not going to step backwards. “Afterwards both coach and player said they had a laugh about the matter, but for the game it is no laughing matter.
The incident overshadowed the quality of the play and both sides fought the match out at high speed till the end. Referee Matthew Breeze indicated that he would be sending in an incident report, and no doubt the Football Federation of Australia will look at the matter in the light of that report.
It is possible that a charge of bringing the game into disrepute could be laid.