Posts Tagged ‘billy celeski’

Getting out of jail but no thanks to you Mr Vargas

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011


It was with some irony that Melbourne Victory’s first home win of the season coincided with the first home game of the season that I was unable to attend due to a clash with a Grand Final that my futsal team* was playing.

Whilst it was a win that came at the end of probably the most tumultuous weeks in the short history of Melbourne Victory one must remember that this a win against a side sitting bottom of the ladder and with the worst defensive record in the league. It was also a game where the Victory when cruising at 2-0 up endeavoured to do their best to actually lose the game. First up, veteran Rodrigo Vargas decided he wanted an early shower with a two-footed challenge on the half-way line with a little over thirty minutes gone on the clock. To say Vargas should have known better is a massive understatement with the incident giving Gold Coast United the incentive to claw their way back into the game. This was followed by a rather soft penalty (it was a penalty just the Victory’s first two goals were penalties) on the stroke of half time which gave Gold Coast some much need momentum going into the second half.

Shortly after the break some lax defending saw Gold Coast equalise and you could almost hear the collective groan coming from AAMI Park in my lounge room as fans watched the team again throw away another two goal lead. Fortunately for the Victory they had come up against a team that quite clearly doesn’t know how to win and even with all of Miron Bleiberg’s so-called tactical genius couldn’t find that all important third goal against a Victory side that had gone to rabble following Vargas’ sending off. It seemed as if the home side suddenly realised that opponents didn’t have both the manpower or the will to actually win the game as both Carlos Hernandez and Archie Thompson rolled back the years (to be fair to Thompson, he’s been in outstanding form all season) and created a number of chances before the two combined for the winner in the 79th minute. Who would have thought that Hernandez could out jump three opponents.

Whilst one win doesn’t a title challenge make one pleasing aspect was the form of Billy Celeski, who looked more than the player of three seasons ago rather than the shadow of a player that existed since his return from a knee reconstruction. Whilst Ernie Merrick might have turned him into one of the best defensive midfielders of that title winning season, it seemed on a Sunday that Celeski relished a more attacking role, one that he was more accustomed to before arriving in our fair town. The result was a much more confident display than we have seen in at least one and a half seasons or maybe it just taken him that long to get over what was a quite a serious knee injury.

Next up is a clash with the Newcastle Jets, a team against which the Victory notoriously struggle against especially on their home turf. If Durakovic has indeed turned the season around then next week is surely a true test as to whether that is really the case.

* - for the record my futsal team lost the Grand Final 7-6 in extra time.

Complete and utter rubbish

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

SOCCER Hyundai A-League 2011: 9 January - Adelaide United def Melbourne Victory 4-1

The title pretty much says it all and I’m not just talking about the performance against Adelaide. It also applies to their performance against the Wellington Phoenix on the preceding Wednesday as well. Never have I seen the Victory play such ordinary football in consecutive matches.

And the common denominator in both matches was Melbourne’s inability to get control in the all important midfield battle. This meant the defensive was always under constant pressure and the strikers weren’t getting enough of the ball. The Victory always plays well when they get can serious amount of midfield possession but both Adelaide and Wellington didn’t allow this to happen and when they did get possession it was often coughed up too quickly. Chief amongst the culprits was Billy Celeski, who hasn’t looked the player that he was before his knee construction. Whilst he hasn’t suffered the recurring injuries of both Thompson and Kemp, his form has definitely suffered and it would wise for Merrick to give him a couple of weeks break.

That all being said the Victory have certainly missed the presence of both Kruse and Thompson in attack with the combination of Danny Allsopp and Ricardinho yet to hit its straps as one would expect and maybe we as fans are expecting too much. Let’s hope they can both find some form against Sydney this weekend because another loss could spell disaster with teams like Melbourne Heart, Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle Jets all breathing down our neck for a finals position. What was looking like a comfortable finals finish a couple of matches ago has all of a sudden looked a tad precarious. What is of concern is those losses weren’t valiant losses, they were terrible, ugly losses and that more importantly needs to be rectified.

Unbalanced comment

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

SOCCER Hyundai A-League 2010: 30 October - Rd 12 - Melbourne Victory def Adelaide United 2-1

It’s not often I get on my soapbox, but with all the kerfuffle surrounding Friday night’s clash against Adelaide United and more specifically “that” tackle by Surat Sukha. Whilst I could have used my usual blog for Australian FourFourTwo to cover this issue I felt that it had it already been done to death and thus saw no need to go over old ground. But a tweet today from SBS analyst, Craig Foster really got under my skin. Foster who has recently started using his twitter account, wrote:

Match review panel v sukha - red card offence. Give automatic 1 match ban. No place for late/high tackle in game

My response for which I received no reply at this stage:

@ Why no comment on Paul Reid’s equally poor tackle on Billy Celeski? Bias because is next big thing!

And that is my main beef with this issue. Whilst I will admit that Sukha’s tackle was late and clumsy and may have been worth a red card at worst and at least a yellow card the outrage that it has generated seems a little over the top. We all know Matthew Leckie is a great talent and his absence from the A-League will be sorely missed but has the reaction been a little superfluous because many consider Leckie to be Australian football’s next big things.

As a number fans have pointed out (and not just Melbourne Victory fans) Paul Reid’s cynical challenge on Billy Celeski during the second half for which he received a yellow card has received no attention whatsoever. Nor has a clumsy attempt by the aforementioned Leckie to put his studs into Robbie Kruse’s knee before his own incident. Why have these incidents received no attention? The answer is quite simply the players involved aren’t the current darlings of the Australian football media.

If we are going to highlight dangerous tackles in key moments of games, let’s not focus on what incident because it suits our purposes but let’s bring them all to light no matter who is involved. Because at the end of the day no one wants to see anyone player get hurt whether they be from their own team or from the opposition.

The bees knees

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

View from the South End

Whilst it was great to see Melbourne Victory finally play a competitive match at AAMI Park but as I alluded to in my previous post the whole experience was dulled a little by the influence two participants mentioned. For my very brief thoughts on the game you can check out my latest blog for 442, although as is often my habit, I undertake a bit of reminiscing and talk more about the Victory’s first ever game against Olympic Park rather than the game itself.

Having been watching the team basically play indoors for the past four seasons it was a bit weird to be shivering a little as I stood there watching the play in action and it took almost half an hour to drink the beer that I purchased at half time. As for the viewing experience (the game aside) my current view is from the South End (who were a bit flat on the night) and it is much better than the view that I experienced at Docklands Stadium. In fact I am quite happy with my spot.

Following the weekend, it has felt like we have been going through a series of high and lows or swings and roundabouts (if that is your kind of thing). First there was the concern of Hernandez and his knee after being on the wrong end of one of many ordinary Perth Glory tackles and then finding out it should all be okay. Then there was concern over Billy Celeski and his newly reconstructed knee after an incident at training and fearing the worst only to be told it wasn’t as bad as first thought. Finally there was the announcement yesterday that subject to a medical, Melbourne would be unveiling their new Brazilian signing on Thursday to compliment yesterday’s signing of Welsh winger, Geoff Kellaway. At last we will have a striker of some sorts - let’s hope he’s a good one.

Melbourne Victory vs Sydney FC: Minute by minute

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Welcome to Victory In Melbourne’s minute by minute analysis of Melbourne Victory’s first match of its 2010/11 A-League campaign against SydneyFC. All the action kickoffs at 8:00pm AEST and we will be keeping you up-to-date with all that happens on the pitch.

Note: This page does not automatically update so you are going have to keep hitting that refresh button like mad to keep abreast of what’s going on.

Whilst you are watching the game or following this minute by minute feel free to pass on your comments as the action unfolds, by either of two methods:

1) By emailing
2) Or tweeting Victory In Melbourne
3) Or leave a comment below

7:18pm: Aren’t we all a little sick of seeing Melbourne Victory play Sydney FC with this being the fifth time in a row that the two teams have met each other. Without a recognised striker after Kruse was a late omission (not that you could really class him as a striker in all honesty) it will be interesting to see how Ernie Merrick sets out the team.

7:44pm: Today is Kevin Muscat’s 37th birthday and he’ll sure to be wishing to expunge the memories of the last time that these two met.

Victory staring XI: Petkovic (gk), Muscat (c), Dugandzic, Sukha, Broxham, Brebner, Vargas, Pondeljak, Hernandez, Berger, Leijer

The other team: Reddy(gk), Ryall, Keller, Foxe, Musialik, Carle, Brosque, McFlynn(c), Bridge, Jamieson, Byun

0 min: And we’re off. Oh great, we have Matthew Breeze in charge which should make things interesting.

4 mins: After a fairly cagey opening on what looks like a pretty poor surface (a combination of the weather and the egg-ball code one would think) Hayden Fox heads over the crossbar from a Scott Jamieson cross. Melbourne will surely need to defend better at set pieces than they did at that one. Seeing that Melbourne is playing without a recognised striker (surely there is someone on the youth team) Hernandez, Pondeljak and Dugandzic are playing as a front three. Don’t really like this tactic as it robs Melbourne of Hernandez’s creativity in the midfield.

8 mins: Byun still probably thinking about that penalty last season dwells on the ball too long and allows Dugandzic to steal and force him to concede a corner. It appears that Vargas’ shaved head has confused the Sydney FC supporters (which doesn’t take much) as they booed his hopeful long ball thinking that it was Muscat who had hit the long ball.

14 mins: Does the start of this season remind you much of the Victory’s first season. Back in that season they started their campaign away to Sydney and followed that with a first home game against Perth Glory at Olympic Park. Fast forward to this season and Melbourne is playing away to Sydney and following that up with their first home game at the new AAMI Park. Back to more footballing matters, Dugandzic is creating a heap of problems for the Sydney defence. On two occasions he has made it to the byline and pulled the ball back. Unfortunately for the Victory, no one has been there to finish off his good work. Melbourne looking much more composed than their opposition at the moment.

20 mins: An update for Jesse Fink and all those other Nick Carle lovers out there. The player of Uruguayan and Chilean descent and that ill-fated rabone has been rarely sighted so far apart from a decent cross that again found Hayden Foxe unmarked. Once again the redhead defender put it wide of the mark.

30 mins: Not much to report in the last ten minutes or so with much of the play taking place in the middle  of the park. Neither team is really imposing themselves on this one.

35 mins: Petkovic in his first official game in Victory colours is quickly off his line to deny the serial diver as the ball is delightfully chipped into his path. And who says I can’t pay those boys in baby blue a compliment. Moments later, Carle picks up the first yellow for the game. Good to see that his time in England hasn’t improved his tackling at all.

36 mins: Goal. A horrendous error from the birthday boy sees Sydney pinch a goal as the Melbourne Victory defender has pocket picked by Bridge only metres out from goal in a monumental brain fade. It’s a simple finish from Brosque to put the Sydneysiders a goal up. Sydney fans obviously loving the irony of the moment but I’m not.

45 mins: And there goes the half time whistle. Considering that Melbourne a playing without a traditional striker it was all going rather well until that Muscat cock up which gifted Sydney a goal. With Celeski, Ward and Angulo on the bench I really can’t see Merrick taking a backward but we really need that striker Geoff Lord was talking about earlier this week.

46 mins: Second half kicks off with Melbourne needing to create some goal scoring chances to put the pressure on their baby blue opponents. No changes at the half for either team. It will be interesting to see what the crowd figure will be tonight considering the other codes that have been in action in Sydney today. Via the television coverage it’s pretty difficult to really to ascertain what the crowd is.

53 mins: Goal. Another defensive error and another goal for Sydney. This time it’s Berger’s failure to clear with a header that allows McFlynn to loop his own header over a despairing Petkovic. During the Sydney celebrations, Billy Celeski comes on for Surat Sukha. It’s good to see him back.

58 mins: That is an extremely soft yellow card to Vargas as he tangles with Alex Brosque, with the serial diver making the most of the slightest of contact from the Victory defender. Resulting free kick crashes into the wall.

61 mins: I really wish Simon Hill would stop referring to this match as ‘The Big Blue’. It is rather a lame name for a clash that will be soon be demoted to our second spot in terms of hated rivals. Is there even the need for a name for a clash between teams from two different cities. It’s not like Manchester and Liverpool have a name for their matches.

65 mins: GOOAAALLLLLL!!!!!! Broxham pulls one back for the Victory with a clumsy looking finish as headed the ball onto his foot and into the goal. Coincidentall

67 mins: GOAAALLLLLL!!! Who says we a striker as Dugandzic brings the Victory back on level terms as he gets on the end of a Pondeljak cross to shut The Cove right up. Shortly after Muscat almost contrives to gift Sydney another goal but Bridge somehow manages to find the knees of Petkovic with the goal at his mercy. The game certainly has liven up as Pondeljak is winding back the clock and exposing Byun’s lack of defensive accountability.

71 mins: In all that excitement I forgot to mention the crowd of 12,106 which is not much better than the crowd pulled by that other Melbourne team on a Thursday.

73 mins: GOAAALLLLL!!!! Celeski puts Melbourne ahead with an easy tap-in after some brilliant lead up play from Mate Dugandzic who in combination with Pondeljak have turned this game on its head. I thought for a moment there that the young winger had wasted the opportunity but showed brilliant composure to take out three defenders and set up Celeski. Sydney looking extremely shellshocked by this turn of events.

79 mins: The mood in this house has just gone up a notch. It wasn’t looking that good fifteen minutes ago but now with a little over ten minutes to go we now need the boys to hold onto the game. Not long after Melbourne’s third goal a voice could be heard from the stands directed at Hayden Foxe questioning his defensive abilities: “Thats what you get paid for!”

87 mins: I lose coverage for a minute or two there as somehow Sydney pulls a goal back. Not sure exactly what happened there apart from Shannon Cole grabbing the equaliser possible due to a Petkovic error.

90 mins: Three minutes of stoppage time coincides with the irony of Brosque complaining about Broxham going rather too easily under a challenge. Mr Pot meet Mr Kettle.

90+3 mins: Sydney almost grab a late winner as Vargas clears a goal bound effort from the goal line and then Brebner uses his posterior to deny Carle a winning goal on his Sydney debut.

90+4 mins: And thus it ends 3-3 in what was a scintillating second half. Muscat absolutely fuming after the match as he questions the free kick that resulted in Sydney’s third goal. My apologies to Michael Petkovic for the third goal as it was a well taken free kick rather than a ‘keeping error. I know a tipped a draw for this one and would have been happy with that result at the start of the game but when we were 3-2 up a win against all odds would have been great.

Costa Rican love affair continues

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

It looks like Ernie Merrick’s love affair with Costa Rica has continued with the signing of Marvin Angulo from Club Sport Herediano as an injury replacement for Billy Celeski. On the surface, it doesn’t appear a like for like replacement as Marvin Angulo looks to be more of a attacking midfielder. He will be interesting to see how he copes with the physicality of the A-League as he listed as being 172cm and only weighing 58kgs. Here’s hoping that he is a Carlos Hernandez kind of success and not the Jose Luis Lopez kind.

Speaking of love affairs, Melbourne seems to love playing Adelaide with the Victory racking up their seventh straight win against our arch enemy. That feeling of love for Adelaide was the topic of choice for my latest piece for Australian FourFourTwo, which you can read here.

Who will the fans blame now?

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Earlier this week I wrote in my latest blog for 442 that the loss of Billy Celeski for the season would have a significant impact on Melbourne’s already stuttering title defence. And now to top it all off in a less than memorable week for the Victory, the worst kept secret was confirmed today that Danny Allsopp has signed for Qatari side, Al-Rayyan Sports Club.

To add to this, FoxSports FC was also reporting strong interest from teams in West Asia for Allsopp’s strike partner, Archie Thompson. Why don’t they just take Ney Fabiano and take all out strike force and be done with it!

In all seriousness, the departure of Allsopp couldn’t come at a worst time for Melbourne. With five points from five rounds and a serious need to get some sort of streak on in order to keep in touch with Gold Coast and Sydney at the top of the table. Also with the transfer window now closed there is no real opportunity for the Victory to sign a striker of Allsopp’s equivalent.

Allsopp’s departure also raises one another serious question – who will the fans now blame when everything is going wrong?

Two out of two on the road

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

At the halfway mark of the season its nice to be sitting on top of the league after our second win in a row on the road. Much more pleasing was the way the result was achieved and the new attacking mentality of Ernie Merrick, a man not normally known for this attribute. It takes a brave man to send out a team with three strikers on the road, and a much braver coach when you consider two of those three strikers were returning from suspension.

After the Victory weathered the first twenty minutes of intense pressure by the Roar I was fairly confident that we would take out the three points as the Roar looked bereft of ideas in attack. Also our attacking triumvirate was looking extremely dangerous and Ney Fabiano was immense and didn’t look like he had just sat out the last six weeks. Maybe there was also sense of having to prove himself to both the team and the fans after such a long lay off.

Another standout was Billy Celeski whose pinpoint cross lead to the only goal for the game. He was dominant in the fifteen to twenty minutes leading up to the goal and capped it off with that cross. He has really raised his level in the last two weeks when the really needed someone in the midfield to really stamp themselves on the game.

The Victory can go into the mid season break feeling pretty happy with their position on the table considering the number of suspensions that have been accrued on the way. It has been good in recent times that the team has been a lot more disciplined of late and even their yellow card count is down. With this year’s competition being one of the closest, they can’t afford to slip up as they chase the title

Earlier in the day I went and watched the Victory women triumph over Perth Glory 3-0 which sees them sitting third on the ladder with two wins out of three matches, equal on points with both Sydney and Adelaide. This is also the subject of my latest blog post, which can be found here.