Melbourne Victory put Sydney to the sword
Melbourne Victory moved into second place on the A-League ladder with a three-one win over Sydney FC, which finished the match with only nine players. Billed as the greatest rivalry in football the match had plenty of incidents, some excellent play in patches by both teams and the 26, 882 fans certainly had enough entertainment and controversy to keep them talking till the next one comes around.
Victory started at high tempo with the passing and pressing game which coach Ange Postecoglou has been teaching now beginning to be thoroughly internalised by the players. Leigh Broxham, released from the central defensive role he has been playing in the absence of Nick Ansell until today, showed both the constructive side of his game and the fierce competitiveness in the tackle which he has always had. That allowed Mark Milligan and Billy Celeski to take turns in more advanced positions, though all three dug in when it was necessary to ensure that marquee star Alessandro Del Piero could not repeat the stellar performance that brought him four goals last week.
Sydney’s structure was disrupted after only 22 minutes when Brett Emerton went down with what looked like a muscle tear when no one was near him. While Sydney were trying to bring on a substitute, Victory took the lead. Adama Traore robbed Rhyan Grant just inside the Sydney half and ran at the remaining defenders before laying the ball off to Marco Rojas. The young winger’s shot deflected off Sebastian Ryall, wrong-footing keeper Vedran Janjetovic and finished in the net. Referee Chris Beath unkindly called this an own-goal by the Sydney defender, one of several strange decisions on the day. Only then did Sydney get young Blake Powell on in place of Emerton. Sydney were nearly punished again a couple of minutes late when Del Piero was stripped of the ball and Archie Thompson put Rojas through again, but this time he was run out before he could get his shot away. Broxham then fired an effort which the keeper finger-tipped for a corner kick. Skipper Terry McFlinn should have been closer with a shot following a Del Piero corner-kick, while Marcos Flores fired at the keeper as he completed an excellent Victory passing movement. Thiago Calvano was booked for a late challenge on Rojas six minutes before the break, and this incident was to prove critical later in the game.
One caution in the first half, was followed by three more in three minutes early in the second half. Milligan and Ansell of Victory and Grant of Sydney all went into the book for breaking up an attack, followed soon after by Sydney full back Fabio for persistent infringing. In 61 minutes, Broxham was found lying face down just outside the field of play. Assistant referee Hakan Anaz told the referee that Calvano had held on to the Victory midfielder, at least that is what appeared in the referee’s report when he sent off the Sydney defender for his second caution. Billy Celeski was next into the book a minute later for a late tackle, but five minutes later we saw the other side of his game as he set up Archie Thompson who thumped the ball past Janjetovic.
Sydney coach Frank Farina pulled off young Powell and sent on the experienced Adam Griffiths but four minutes later Sydney were three down. Rojas lost the ball on the edge of the penalty area, but bounced up and won it back, then ran across the box to find the space to curl hi shot round the keeper. Despite being down to ten men Sydney now had its best spell of the game and Del Piero helped set up Joel Griffiths to run through a static Victory defence to pull one goal back in 75 minutes. Victory brought on Andrew Nabbout and Francesco Stella for Thompson and Flores, while Diego Ferreira in 81 minutes and Fabio in stoppage time went into the book. Fabio’s second yellow saw him sent off as the match ended with Victory substitute Jonathan Bru testing Janjetovic with a shot which the keeper just touched over for a corner kick.
Both coaches were puzzled by some of the decisions and neither saw the match as in any way violent or spiteful. The referee’s incident report however is likely to lead to repercussions for some of those involved. Both expelled players will certainly miss Sydney’s critical match with Newcastle next week.
Saturday, 26 January 2013
Melbourne Victory 3 (Sebastian Ryall, own goal, 24’, Archie Thompson 68’, Marco Rojas 72’) Sydney FC 1 (Joel Griffiths 75’)
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick-off: 5:30 PM
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referees: Hakan Anaz and George Lakrindis
Fourth Official: Lucien Laverdure
39. Nathan COE, 3. Adama TRAORE, 5. Mark MILLIGAN, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 9. Marcos FLORES (18. Francesco STELLA 76’), 10. Archie THOMPSON (26. Andrew NABBOUT 76’), 11. Marco ROJAS, 13. Diogo FEEREIRA, 14. Billy CELESKI (8. Jonathan BRU 88’), 23. Adrian LEIJER, 24.Nick ANSELL.
Unused substitutes: 1. Tando VELAPHI.
Yellow cards: Mark Milligan 48’, Nick Ansell 51’, Billy Celeski 62’, Diogo Ferreiera 81.
Red cards: Nil.
20. Vedran JANJETOVIC, 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3 FABIO, 6 Jason CULINA (21 Yairo YAU 72’), 7. Brett EMERTON (12. Blake POWELL 24’ (8. Adam GRIFFITHS 68’)), 10 Alessandro DEL PIERO, 13 Tiago CALVANO, 15 Terry McFLYNN, 22. Ali ABBAS, 23 Rhyan GRANT, 29. Joel GRIFFITHS.
Unused Substitutes: 33. Matthew NASH
Yellow cards: 13 Tiago CALVANO 39’ and 61’, Rhyan Grant 52’, Fabio 58 and 90+2’, Alessandro Del Piero 90’.
Red cards: 13 Tiago CALVANO 61’, Fabio 90+2’.