Melbourne Victory 1 Adelaide United 4
By Roy Hay
Melbourne Victory was comprehensively defeated by Adelaide United at AAMI Park by four goals to one on Sunday night.
This broke a sequence which goes back to 15 October 2006 since Adelaide won a league match against Victory.
That was the game in which Kevin Muscat tangled with John Kosmina, who was coaching United at the time.
Danny Allsopp started his first game since his return to Melbourne Victory in place of Robbie Kruse on international duty with the Socceroos.
Evan Berger has also forced his way back into the starting line-up after appearing to be at the bottom of the heap for most of this season.
Ricardinho partnered Allsopp in attack.
Mate Dugandzic, Leigh Broxham and Marvin Angulo were on the bench.
Adelaide had Mark Birighitti in goal in place of Eugene Galekovic, as the former Victory keeper has an injured wrist.
Galekovic was included in the squad, a calculated risk by coach Rini Coolen, who said the keeper’s leadership skills were very valuable to the team.
Adelaide dominated the early exchanges with Cassio and Iain Ramsay giving young Diogo Ferriera a torrid time on one flank, and Travis Dodd doing the same to Evan Berger on the other.
The decisive first break came in the 12th minute.
Ramsay drove down the left and fired over a cross which Michael Petkovic made no attempt to cut out and Evan Berger was overwhelmed by Travis Dodd who laid the ball on for Marcos Flores to thump it along the ground and into the net.
Adelaide was worth its advantage and might have added to its lead from long shots by Iain Fyfe and Cameron Watson, both saved by Petkovic while Francisco Usucar put another effort well over the bar.
For Victory, Carlos Hernandez had one dipping shot which landed on top of the net while Allsopp shot just over after fine lead-up play by Billy Celeski, Grant Brebner and Hernandez.
Marvin Angulo replaced Adrian Leijer who suffered a groin strain in the first half and Victory went chasing a result.
Ricardinho rounded a couple of defenders in the 55th minute but when he tried to pull the trigger the ball was deflected for a fruitless corner kick.
Two minutes later skipper Muscat was booked for a challenge on Cassio.
Sergio van Dijk fired the free kick through a gap in the wall and the late swing beat Petkovic on his right hand post.
Ten minutes later Muscat and Adam Hughes collided in midfield and referee Peter Green produced a second yellow card for the Victory skipper for ‘a reckless swinging arm’.
Strangely Victory had its best spell of the game in the next ten minutes, perhaps because the Adelaide players thought that the game was won and pressed forward in numbers leaving gaps into which the Victory attackers poured.
Allsopp had probably the best chance of all when clear on the right, but rustiness showed as he blasted his shot well over the bar.
Berger was also just too high with a cross-shot after getting clear of the defence.
Both sides made substitutions in the 73rd minute, with Ricardinho being replaced by Mate Dugandzic and Fabian Barbiero coming on for Travis Dodd, who is just coming back after injury.
A Ramsay corner on the right was headed down by Fyfe and blocked on the line by Marvin Angulo, only for Barbiero’s first touch to knock it back into the goal.
There was a nasty incident on the half-way line when Evan Berger crashed into the back of Francisco Usucar who was on the ground at the time. Several players became involved and Berger and Barbiero were booked, the latter for retaliation.
In the 78th minute van Dijk who had been turning Rodrigo Vargas at will, got on the end of a long through ball and just touched it past Petkovic for Adelaide’s fourth goal.
It was not till the very last kick of the game that Victory got a consolation effort when Mate Dugandzic was on hand to trickle the ball past Birighitti from close range.
Both coaches stressed that neither team was at full strength and Ernie Merrick thought the set pieces were once again the Victory’s undoing.
Rini Coolen was pleased with the Adelaide effort throughout the team and the fact that the players kept pressing even when the result was beyond doubt.
Next week’s game against Sydney FC assumes massive significance for Victory with its place in the top six under threat and the possibility that it will be without two of its central defensive players, Muscat and Leijer.
Melbourne Victory 1 (Mate DUGANDZIC 90 + 3’) Adelaide United 4 (Marcos FLORES 12’, Sergio van DIJK 56’, 78’, Fabian BARBIERO 74’)
Sunday, 9 January 2010
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Local kick-off: 3:00pm
Referee: Peter GREEN
Assistant referees: Shaun EVANS and Luke BRENNAN
Fourth official: Alex AZCURRA
Melbourne Victory: 1. Michael PETKOVIC , 2. Kevin MUSCAT, 7. Matthew KEMP, 8. Grant BREBNER, 9. RICARDINHO (3. Mate DUGANDZIC 73’), 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERRERIA, 14. Billy CELESKI, 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ, 18. Danny ALLSOPP, 19. Evan BERGER (6. Leigh BROXHAM 87’), 23. Adrian LEIJER (11. Marvin ANGULO 46’).
Unused substitutes: 20. Sebastian MATTEI
Yellow cards: RICARDINHO 26’, Kevin MUSCAT 56’, 64’, Evan BERGER 76’, Daniel ALLSOPP 81’, Marvin ANGULO 86’
Red cards: Kevin MUSCAT 74’
Adelaide United: 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI, 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 4.Iain FYFE, 6.CASSIO, 8.Adam HUGHES, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK (7.Lucas PANTELIS 81’), 10.Marcos FLORES, 13.Travis DODD (18.Fabian BARBIERO 73’), 14.Cameron WATSON, 17.Iain RAMSAY, 21.Francisco USUCAR (12.Paul REID 78’)
Unused substitutes: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC
Yellow cards: Francisco USUCAR 46, 18.Fabian BARBIERO 76, Marcos FLORES 79’
Red cards: Nil