Hyundai A-League Season 6

Victory draw as Sydney throw away lead
By Stephen Webb

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 1
8pm, Saturday 7 August, 2010
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 3
(Alex Brosque 36’, Terry McFlynn 53’, Shannon Cole 85')
drew with
Melbourne Victory FC 3
(Leigh Broxham 66’, Mate Dugandzic 68’, Billy Celeski 73')

(Terry McFlynn (SFC capt) salutes the Cove - Photo for BOTN by Nick Guoth)

Shannon Cole scored from an 86th minute free kick to save Sydney FC some red faces in their grand final rematch against Melbourne Victory. Sydney threw away a 2-0 lead, allowing Melbourne to score three goals in seven minutes midway through the second half.

Disappointing for Sydney, the result was a well earned point for Melbourne and plenty of incentive for more football fans to turn up at Sydney’s next home game.

Little over 12,000 turned up on a fine Saturday night, mostly crowded in the Cove and in reserved seating under cover, to see a full strength Sydney take to a depleted Melbourne.

Somehow the promise of fireworks and a host of former Socceroos being welcomed as members of the club wasn’t much of a bonus on the drawcard.

Entertainment for the Sydney fans came from an unexpected source when Kevin Muscat slipped onto his posterior receiving the ball from Melbourne’s kick off.

This was the first but not only time the crowd cheered Muscat. However nearly all of his subsequent touches were rewarded with booing.

Minds focused on more serious matters in the fourth minute when Hayden Foxe headed over goal from a Scott Jamieson free kick. Mark Bridge had a long shot just over the bar after snappy interplay between Sydney captain Terry McFlynn and Alex Brosque.

Sydney’s passing generally was not silky smooth, however, with players often getting caught on the ball.

For Melbourne, Muscat put a good long ball through for Mate Dugandzic, who had the striker’s role courtesy of the absence of Archie Thompson and an injury to Robbie Kruse. Dugandzic beat Sung-Hwan Byun and crossed through the goal box where no team mates were waiting.

Adrian Leijer was heading most of Sydney’s long balls and crosses away but Nick Carle and Brosque finally got the ball in behind the defensive line and Michael Petkovic had to dive to keep his area safe.

Stephan Keller had to perform a similar function at the other end, taking the ball out of the path of Carlos Hernandez, supplied by Dugandzic.

Just after Carle on the left and then McFlynn on the right pulled off some tricky turns, and fans behind me expressed pleasure in anticipation of seeing more magic this year, Dugandzic raced Byun and Foxe to a through ball and Liam Reddy had to come out to keep trouble at bay, collecting the ball at Dugandzic’s feet.

Carle executed another brilliant turn to find Jamieson down the left. Jamieson was quick to pass onward to Brosque, who looked across to check — what? if he was onside? if he had support? — and in that moment was dispossessed.

In the 20th minute Stuart Musialik drove a long shot that was deflected across the goal line. At his second attempt, Carle’s corner kick found Foxe, whose strong header again went high.

Melbourne had a corner from the right and Muscat rued not attempting a shot when the ball was at his feet in front of goal. Byun got in a dig at the other end.

Evan Berger displayed some facility with the ball at his feet, and then Carle held and held and held the ball outside the Melbourne penalty area, shaping to shoot but not finding a gap, before offloading to McFlynn on the right. McFlynn’s cross presented no threat.

A flick on from Bridge almost gave Brosque a one-on-one with Petkovic.

Melbourne seemed happy to give away free kicks if that would slow Sydney down. But Carle’s yellow was for pointlessly (carelessly or gratuitously?) dropping his hip into Surat Sukha.

In the 37th minute Muscat provided every young footballer with an object lesson on what not to do in your own penalty area. And provided Sydney with their first goal. With Mark Bridge looming, he attempted a double drag back, confusing himself and presenting Bridge with the ball, which Bridge laid on for Brosque to score.

Double pleasure for Sydney fans: one goal up and Muscat humiliated.

Melbourne lifted their efforts a notch and Sydney had to defend in numbers. Meanwhile the fans were cheering: “Muscat! Muscat!”

Another corner to Melbourne. Muscat touched the ball and fans couldn’t decide whether to cheer or boo.

With Sydney back on the attack, in an exquisite piece of play, Carle floated a ball toward the right corner, apparently to no-one. In fact it was a perfect delivery for McFlynn who (unfortunately for the furious fans) was ruled offside.

Sydney ended the half with more entertainment. McFlynn dummied a back-heel and turned tightly to cross, the ball falling uncomfortably for the Melbourne defence, who scrambled it away.

Melbourne fans, who had been quite vocal at the beginning of the game and giving the Cove a run for its money, were silent as the second half commenced.

But ... Hernandez won Melbourne a corner and Keller cleared. Hernandez won another corner and Brosque took it to safety. Tom Pondeljak got away from Sebastian Ryall on the left and had a soft shot at Reddy. (Here I note that the A-League stats say there were no keeper saves but I reckon if Reddy hadn’t caught this ball Tommy would have scored.)

Sydney’s second goal resulted from more good fortune. A cross from the left was headed on by Leijer, bouncing in front of McFlynn who lobbed a header over Petkovic who had made the mistake of coming off his line.

Billy Celeski, recovering from injury, replaced Sukha. Vargas got his yellow for fouling Brosque on the edge of the Melbourne penalty area.

Carle played right to Ryall, who found Brosque free in the box. Brosque wasted a good opportunity, shooting to the right of goal. Jamieson then wasted the ball in space on the left, lofting the ball over goal.

Celeski put a good ball through for Dugandzic and Sydney were just able to cut him out.

Melbourne had a good spell but Sydney held out. Melbourne seemed good at getting the ball to the top of Sydney’s penalty area and pulling the ball back for shooters but they were unable to find a way through the blue wall.

They needed another strategy. And they soon found one.

In the 67th minute Pondeljak got away down the right and crossed. Leigh Broxham got his head to the ball, only dropping it to his feet. There was no real shot but momentum sent the ball rolling toward goal. Reddy was deceived and Melbourne scored.

Now one might think (one being any of 10,000 or so Sydney supporters) that Sydney’s defenders would be taking a good hard look at themselves and determining not to let anything like that happen again.

But a minute clearly wasn’t sufficient time for even a mental slap. Pondeljak went down the right again. Crossed again. But, instead of Broxham getting a free header, Dugandzic caught the ball with his back to goal, turned on it, with Sydney’s defence rooted, and scored Melbourne’s second.

Sydney almost got one back immediately but Petkovic intervened.

Muscat chopped Carle and Sydney had a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. Melbourne fans found their voice as Sydney were launching more ambitious balls hoping for Carle to conjure something.

But the next goal was Melbourne’s. Dugandzic got away down the middle, Sydney fans hoping he was offside. Dugandzic, who had timed his run well, got to the left side of the goal box and squared to Celeski. Melbourne were ahead.

Jamieson made way for Kofi Danning who soon linked up with Carle and prospects looked bright.

Hernandez came from behind and elbowed Foxe in the back of the head and for a while it seemed he wouldn’t be punished. It happened after Foxe had played the ball and the referee hadn’t noticed. The linesman remained unmoved despite Foxe’s remonstrations. But Breeze must have received the message because play was stopped and Sydney received a free kick. Hernandez later gestured an elbow movement: Telling teammates what he had been penalised for? Boasting about it? Sort of thing Muscat is renowned for. But Hernandez?

Carle almost found Brosque in the Melbourne penalty area but Petkovic beat him to the ball.

Melbourne still looked on top, even as Carle got the ball to the goal line, right of goal, and whipped the ball over. Petkovic held.

Cole replaced Ryall and Carle and Brosque rushed the ball past Melbourne’s right post. Sydney kept fighting back but Muscat in particular stood strong. Byun and then Cole ruined the good lead up work of Carle and crew.

Sydney won a free kick in the 86th minute. Described by some as dubious or soft, the foul appeared to be Muscat, feet flailing, clattering into the back of Bridge and kneeing him in the hamstring. In any case, Cole struck brilliantly. Petkovic, diving to his right, got a hand to the ball but couldn’t prevent the goal.

“What a game! What a game!” said the guys behind me.

In time added on McFlynn had the winner in his grasp but Vargas cleared his shot off the line.

So it ended a draw, just like the grand final.

A young couple sitting nearby picked Foxe as Sydney’s best. I wondered about the choice: sure, he was calm on the ball - but mustn’t he take some responsibility for at least two of the goals? Pommy Guy, my source in the Cove, was not yet familiar with the team but fancied Carle and Foxe.

He also observed a flare at the Cove end and altercations between Sydney fans and police.

Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka described it as a strange game and said Sydney needed to improve their defence.

McFlynn said his team lost concentration. They had been in control but goals changed games and Melbourne had some luck and scored, he said.

Lavicka said Carle performed well and Sydney attacked well but they needed to play a more balanced game.

Asked about an apparent weakness down the left and whether Byun and Jamieson were too attack minded, he said transition was very important when playing good opponents.

Dugandzic said Melbourne were disappointed they didn’t win. His coach, Ernie Merrick, said Melbourne were good in defence and midfield in the first half but at half time made adjustments to pick up at the front.

Though Dugandzic had been enjoying playing striker at training, Merrick said Melbourne still needed a high quality, ready-made striker. The choice would not be rushed, however.

He said continuity had been important for the squad. It was a strong squad “down the spine”, experienced and stable, with Melbourne-bred players coming through.

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 1
8pm, Saturday 7 August, 2010
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 3
(Alex Brosque 36’, Terry McFlynn 53’, Shannon Cole 85')
drew with
Melbourne Victory FC 3
(Leigh Broxham 66’, Mate Dugandzic 68’, Billy Celeski 73')

    Crowd: 12,106


    Sydney FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL (12. Shannon COLE+ 81’), 3. Stephan KELLER, 5. Hayden FOXE, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK (23. Rhyan GRANT +86’), 10. Nicky CARLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 21. Scott JAMIESON (11. Kofi DANNING +76’), 22. BYUN Sung-Hwan Substitutes not used: 20. Ivan Necevski (rgk)

    Coach: Vitezslav Lavicka

    Yellow Cards: 10. Nicky CARLE 35’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Melbourne Victory FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2. Kevin MUSCAT, 3. Mate DUGANDZIC (11. Marvin ANGULO +90' + 3), 5. Surat SUKHA (14. Billy CELESKI +53’), 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 8. Grant BREBNER, 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 15. Tom PONDELJAK, 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ (22. Nick WARD +88’), 19. Evan BERGER, 23. Adrian LEIJER
    Substitutes not used: 20 Sebastian MATTEI (rgk)

    Coach: Ernie Merrick

    Yellow Cards: 12. Rodrigo VARGAS 58’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Matthew Breeze 7/10
    Assistants: Alex Glasgow, Scott Edeling; 4th official: Kris Griffiths Jones

    Pitch rating: 6/10

    Game rating: 8/10

    BOTN Player Points :

    2. Nick Carle (Sydney FC)
    1. Hayden Foxe (Sydney FC)
    1. Mate Dugandzic (Melbourne Victory)
    1. Kevin Muscat (Melbourne Victory)
    1. Tom Pondeljak

    by Stephen Webb

Special Picture Gallery (All for BOTN by Nick Guoth, unless marked otherwise)

(Four Sydney FC supporters before the game )

(Honouring past Socceroos )

(Surat Sukha )

(Tom Pondeljak v Scott Jamieson )

(Terry McFlynn with ball )

(Kevin Muscat fights off attention from Jamieson )

( Alex Brosque and Rodrigo Vargas tussle for the ball)

(Hayden Foxe leaps higher than Carlos Hernandez )


(Nicky Carle looks to pass, with Leigh Broxham watching )

( Michael Petkovic watches as the freekick from Shannon Cole passes him into the net)

(Kofi Danning tries to sneak the ball past Evan Berger )

(Vargas gets to the ball in time to save off the line with Muscat and Adrian Leijer watching )

(Photo Stephen Webb for BOTN - Cove banner 'pullover')

(Photo Stephen Webb for BOTN - Sydney on the attack)

(Photo Stephen Webb for BOTN - Muscat vs Byun)

(Photo Stephen Webb for BOTN - Billy Celeski scores)

(Photo Stephen Webb for BOTN - Victory fans)

(Photo Stephen Webb for BOTN - Shannon Cole free kick scores)

(Photo Stephen Webb for BOTN - Leijer and McFlynn)

(Photo Stephen Webb for BOTN - Vitezslav Lavicka)

(Photo Stephen Webb for BOTN - Ernie Merrick)

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their complete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, unless clearly attributed, are as supplied or made available by or through FFA and thus used by permission.

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