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.
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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.