Melbourne Victory 4 Adelaide United 3
Melbourne Victory conjured a narrow win over Adelaide United by four goals to three on Saturday night but the result came at a cost, with Tom Rogic looking to have suffered a severe injury when team-mate Leigh Broxham trod inadvertently on his ankle. If he is unable to make the trip to China in the Asian Champions League this coming week, it will significantly weaken Victory’s chances of making it out of a tough qualifying group.
Adelaide came smartly out of the blocks, playing four and sometimes five players in attack, three in midfield and the residue in defence. In the fourth minute the visitors poured down the right wing and Fabio Ferriera opened up the Victory defence and his precise pass was put away by Sergio cutting in past Scott Galloway. Victory was on terms in 15 minutes after the somewhat undermanned Adelaide defence lost the ball at the back and Gui Finkler was the beneficiary of some good scavenging by Broxham and an approximate pass by Archie Thompson. It appeared that the teams would go to the break still level but in the last passage of play Scott Galloway was caught a long way from his man, Sergio, who was able to run in and dink the ball over Nathan Coe. One would have expected Kevin Muscat to insist that his right back tighten up in the second half, but he continued to drift infield allowing Sergio to represent a constant threat on the left wing.
Rogic limped off in the 50th minute after his injury with Kosta Barbarouses taking his place and adding speed though perhaps not quite so much skill to the Victory attack. The home side got back to parity in the 57th minute, as once again Broxham broke up an attempt by Adelaide to tidy up after a James Troisi shot had been blocked. He played a one-two with Finkler who squeezed the ball just inside the post. That lifted the home crowd and ten minutes later a long free kick should have been met by a straightforward clearance with his feet by Eugene Galekovic. But for once, the reliable keeper miscued and the ball spun wide where Thompson pounced to slide the ball in from a narrowing angle. Ten more minutes and Victory had another goal as Troisi worked his way along the bye-line and cut the ball back for Barbarouses to score from the edge of the goal area. Adelaide refused to buckle and Sergio completed his hat-trick seizing on a deflection by Contreras who had already received his usual booking for a rash tackle earlier in the game. Adelaide were appealing for a free kick or a penalty, but Sergio settled the matter in his own way. Nathan Coe was booked for pretty blatant timewasting and ignoring warnings, but Victory held on to its win after five nervy minutes of added time.
The crowd of 18,341 were well entertained and Victory’s active fans at the Swan Street end ignored the marked area behind the goal and decamped to the top corner of the stadium to encourage the team vociferously from there. So we were back to the two-ended support which has been a striking feature of Victory’s fan behaviour since the early days of the A-League.