So there we have it. Jim Magilton’s first game in charge of Melbourne Victory. We may all have been hoping for a first up win but unfortunately Adelaide United didn’t get the message and the match ended 1-1 in what was must be said was a very cliched match of two halves.
For those expecting dramatic changes in his first game would have been sadly disappointed as the starting line-up was pretty much the same the played the weekend before against Newcastle with the only change being the inclusion of Adrian Leijer for Petar Franjic, which was hardly a suprising move. What was interesting was Magilton’s use of the bench with Jean Carlos Solorzano, Diogo Ferreira and the aforementioned Franjic being his substitutes. For someone who is probably used to having a larger bench it was interesting that for his substitutes he went for a striker, midfielder and a defender along with the mandatory goalkeeper. It was a fairly conservative choice and I’m sure we will see a different bench once he gets used to having only a four man bench.
As I alluded to in my opening it was a game of two halves as the Victory shot out of blocks at the start of their game as has been their want of late and save for the efforts of Eugene Galekovic, the woodwork and some poor finishing the home team could well have been more than a goal up come the half time whistle. Kewell continued his recent renaissance out of the left and it was his early match trickery that not only set up the first goal but also created a plethora of other chances that unfortunately weren’t converted. He combined well on in the left hand-side with Fabio, who had his best game for the club although apart from a few blemishes has been pretty consistent throughout the season. It wasn’t all just Kewell in that early match dominance with Hernandez, Thompson and Allsopp all looking dangerous.
However as been the case through most of the season the team couldn’t put a whole match together as Adelaide fought their way back into the match and dominated much of the second half, save for a few chances for the Victory. Whilst the first half was full of free-flowing football the second half was in stark contrast as we resorted to long hopeful balls to the forwards as the connection between defence to midfield and beyond seemed to disappear. After a pleasing first half it was a little disappointing to see the team resort to type in the second half as the opposition stepped up their game and for most of the time looked bereft of ideas.
There is obviously plenty of work for Magilton to do in the coming weeks but his first up effort obviously displeased Australia’s self-proclaimed football oracle No. 1 Barcelona fan, Craig Foster who had probably been saving this piece up all week. This prompted a misguided twitter response from Robbie Slater, who is personal friend of Magilton which in turn prompted this well-written response by Mike Tuckerman on The Roar which pretty much summed up the thoughts of most level-headed football supporters who have a dose of reality unlike the aforementioned Foster and Slater.