Melbourne Heart 1 Melbourne Victory 2
The Melbourne derby produced one of the most dramatic finishes in the short history of the clashes between Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart as the former reversed the scoreline of their first encounter this season. A last gasp goal by Archie Thompson wrested a two-one win for Victory after Heart had fought back to equalise. So it is all to play for when the teams meet again in Round 19 in February.
Melbourne Heart gave a first start for the season to Jonathan Germano after he recovered from long-term injury. Dylan McAllister, Golgol Mebratu and Jason Hoffman were on the bench. Victory had a full squad to pick from and Arhcie Thompson led the line.
In a frenetic first half in which both teams tried to play faster than they can think, there was little continuous play since each side would give the ball away regularly. Heart used the pace of Williams and Behich down one flank while Marrone supported Garcia on the right. As Victory had Thompson and Traore patrolling the latter two and Rojas on the other side, the two sets of wide players more or less cancelled each other out. There were several fierce clashes as players tried to exert authority but Diego Ferriera was the only one to be booked by referee Alan Milliner until stoppage time at the interval when young Nick Ansell, somewhat harshly, joined in him the book.
Marco Rojas came closest to opening the score for Victory when he shot narrowly over the bar at the end of a sweeping counter-attack in the 11th minute, provoking a couple of flares from among the packed fans at the Swan Street end. Josip Tadic robbed Nathan Coe who dithered on the ball but his effort was deflected for a corner kick. In 33 minutes Azis Behich came sprinting down the wing and set up his skipper, Fred, but the Brazilian’s blast went wide. Ferriera was replaced at half-time by Spase Dilevski and the full back was quickly added to the defaulter’s list for a late tackle.
Both sides were now creating chances as the game opened up with David Williams prominent for Heart, while Thompson and Rojas both had shots blocked by keeper Clint Bolton and his defenders in 62 minutes. The game was building to a crescendo and the all out attacking play was not disrupted by a series of coaching changes as Germano was replaced by Jason Hoffman, Richard Garcia by Golgol Mebratu and Marco Flores by young Andrew Nabbout. Late substitutions hardly gave Jonathan Bru and Dylan McAllister much time to have an impact.
But the finish had to be seen to be believed and even then many of those present will have very different accounts of what happened. David Williams gave the ball away in his own half and Victory broke quickly down the left with Marco Rojas who fed Archie Thompson. The Socceroo striker still had work to do but cleverly lifted the ball over Clint Bolton and off the underside of the bar and the post. It came down over the goal-line before Aziz Behich could hook it clear. There were umpteen video replays but the officials got this one right despite the heartache and exhilaration which swamped the moment.
It was hard on Heart which had fought back and deservedly equalised through skipper Fred and might have won the game with a marvelous Williams volley seconds before he contributed to the Victory winner. Fred’s first goal for some time sparked great celebrations by the midfielder and his colleagues and it looked as if the momentum had shifted in favour of the home team.
Earlier Victory had taken the lead in 67 minutes. Mark Milligan got involved in an attack down the right and his cross was deflected which gave Marco Rojas a chance to pounce and finish from close range.
Ange Postecoglou had to leave the ground at the end after a family bereavement and his place at the press conference was taken by Kevin Muscat. Both he and John Aloisi claimed that their respective teams controlled the game, but the truth is each side had short periods of dominance broken up by misplaced passes and tackles. A great derby atmosphere with 26,457 crammed into the stadium and an incredible end to the match ensured that this one will be remembered when others are forgotten.
Saturday, December 22
Melbourne Heart 1 (Fred 81’) Melbourne Victory (Marco Rojas 67’, Archie Thompson, 90 + 3’)
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick off: 7:45PM
Referee: Alan Milliner
Assistant referees: Nathan MacDonald and Jonathan Barreiro
Fourth official: Lucien Laverdure
1. Clint Bolton, 2. Michael Marrone, 4. Simon Colosimo, 5. Fred (9. Dylan Macallister 90 + 1’), 6. Patrick Gerhardt, 8. Matthew Thompson, 10. Josip Tadic, 11. Richard Garcia (14. GolGol Mebrahtu 71’), 13. Jonatan Germano (17. Jason Hoffman 63’), 15. David Williams, 16. Aziz Behich.
Unused substitutes: 20. Andrew Redmayne
Yellow cards: Matt Thompson 76’, Patrick Gerhardt 86’, Simon Colosimo 90 + 3’.
Red cards: Nil
39. Nathan COE, 3. Adama TRAORE, 5. Mark MILLIGAN, 7. Gui FINKLER (8. Jonathan BRU 80’), 9. Marcos FLORES (26. Andrew NABBOUT 73’), 10. Archie THOMPSON, 11. Marco ROJAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA (21. Spase DILEVSKI 46’), 14. Billy CELESKI, 23. Adrian LEIJER, 24. Nick ANSELL
Unused substitutes: 1. Tando VELAPHI
Yellow cards: Diogo Ferriera 9’, Nick Ansell 45 + 1’, Spase Dilevski 51’, Adrian Leijer 55’, Billy Celeski 84’, Archie Thompson 90 + 3’
Red cards: Nil