Melbourne Victory 2 Gold Coast United 0
By Roy Hay
Melbourne Victory muscled their way to a two-nil home win over Gold Coast United on Sunday night at AAMI Park.
Danny Allsopp scored both goals with cracking shots and might have had his first A-League hat-trick in a stand-out performance for Victory.
Gold Coast United were missing Shane Smeltz, who reported that he could not get out of bed on Saturday morning with a back problem, so coach Miron Bleiberg told him if he was fit they would fly him down on Sunday, but otherwise he should try to recover in time for Wednesday’s critical game against Adelaide United.
The home team were without suspended skipper Kevin Muscat and Billy Celeski plus Robbie Kruse, Archie Thompson and Surat Sukha.
The crowd of 8287 took advantage of the shaded areas of the stand as the temperature soared into the 40s.
Bas van den Brink was taken off after only 8 minutes following a crunching tackle by Grant Brebner. He was replaced by Kristian Rees.
There were other fierce challenges and some gamesmanship and Rodrigo Vargas was booked for a late tackle on Michael Thwaite, who pushed forward into midfield when van den Brink went off.
Mate Dugandzic sprang the offside trap as the Gold Coast defence waited for a whistle against Carlos Hernandez who was in an offside position.
Dugandzic got to the bye line and squared the ball for Tom Pondeljak, but the midfielder squeezed it into the side-netting.
In 28 minutes Victory did get the breakthrough and an excellent goal it was.
Danny Allsopp picked up a ball in midfield and made a beeline for goal finishing with a grounder just inside Glen Moss’s right-hand post.
Bruce Djite broke at the other end a minute later but his low shot went outside the post.
Allsopp might have had his second just before half-time with Hernandez and Dugandzic again involved in the build-up.
Both sides made changes at the break, with Marvin Angulo replacing Hernandez who suffered a groin strain, and Joe Porter coming on for Korean Sungkil Kim.
The skilful Korean had been incensed by some of the treatment he had received and the coach took him off reluctantly as a precaution
The second half saw more football and less physicality as the heat took its toll on both sides.
The Coasters almost got on terms when Dino Djublic headed down a corner kick to Bruce Djite whose close range shot was instinctively blocked by Michael Theoklitos.
But it was Victory which added to its lead with another fine strike by Allsopp.
Diogo Ferreira and Tom Pondeljak came down the right and Danny Allsopp took over, turned onto his left foot and thumped the ball past Moss for the second goal in 56 minutes.
Allsopp almost got his hat-trick four minutes later as he latched on to a long ball from Mate Dugandzic but had his effort saved by Glen Moss.
Joel Porter might have had a goal for Gold Coast in the last minute of normal time but was denied by another save from point-blank range by Theoklitos.
The Victory youngsters including Petar Franjic, Diogo Ferreira and Mate Dugandzic had excellent games, with Franjic in particular doing his job safely and unspectacularly but very effectively.
Ernie Merrick was pleased with the way the players had focused on the game and their own individual roles during the turmoil of the past week and the fall-out from the Muscat tackle and suspension.
Gary Cole said Melbourne Victory had not considered any sanction on the club captain and accepted the FFA suspension.
Miron Bleiberg said that Melbourne Victory deserved to win the game, but the manner in which had happened concerned him, particularly the intimidation of the Gold Coast players in what he described as a brutal first half.
Melbourne Victory 2 (Danny ALLSOPP 28’/56’) Gold Coast United 0
Sunday, 30 Jan 2011
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Local kick-off: 5:00pm
Referee: Peter GREEN
Assistant referees: Luke BRENNAN and Shaun EVANS
Fourth official: Alex AZCURRA
Melbourne Victory: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 3. Mate DUGANDZIC (9. RICARDINHO 87’), 4. Petar FRANJIC, 7. Matthew KEMP (17. Matthew FOSCHINI 73’), 8. Grant BREBNER, 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 15. Tom PONDELJAK, 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ (11. Marvin ANGULO 46’), 18. Danny ALLSOPP, 23. Adrian LEIJER (c)
Substitutes not used: 20. Sebastian MATTEI (gk)
Yellow Cards: Rodrigo VARGAS 11’, Tom PONDELJAK 47’
Red Cards: Nil
Gold Coast United: 1.Glen MOSS [gk], 3.Michael THWAITE (c), 6.Dino DJULBIC, 8.ANDERSON, 11.Bruce DJITE, 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 21.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 22.Adama TRAORE, 24.John CURTIS, 33.Peter PERCHTOLD, 34.Sungkil KIM
Substitutes not used: 20.Scott HIGGINS (gk), 16.Kristian REES, 14.Joel PORTER, 23.Steve FITZSIMMONS
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil