Hyundai A-League Season 6

Victory bursts Reds' record
By Alan Clark

A-League - 2010/2011 Season - Round 12
Friday 29 October, 2010
at Docklands Stadium, Melbourne

Melbourne Victory FC 2
(Robbie Kruse 21', Carlos Hernandez 68')
Adelaide United FC 1
(Iain Fyfe 1')

(Linked from FFA site)

Melbourne Victory overcame going behind in the first minute against previously undefeated Adelaide United before winning two-one at Docklands Stadium on Friday evening. The win continues Adelaide's winless run against Melbourne, although scarcely dents its lead at the top of the table. What Adelaide will certainly rue is the conclusion to its season-long undefeated streak.

It was clear Adelaide sought to preserve this status in a frantic finish in the game's last quarter-hour, pushing for the equaliser whilst prepared to leave its resources thin at the rear. It was a gamble which nearly paid off, Iseob Shin striking the base of the post with a devastating shot from distance, and so coming within centimetres of preserving the Reds' proud record.

Iain Fyfe put Adelaide ahead inside the game's first minute when he outjumped Surat Sukha to crash his header past Jason Petkovic from Paul Reid's free-kick.

Robbie Kruse got Melbourne back into the game with a long-range shot midway through the half which beat Eugene Galekovic at his near post.

Carlos Hernandez put Victory in front midway through the second-half with a marvellously-crafted goal he'd earlier played a significant role in building.

And despite a fervid last few minutes, when each side mounted successive break-aways, Victory in particular, neither side was able to add to the score in a truly breathtaking contest.

The game started as it ended, and so the action filled the game. The catering providers will likely report significant unsold stock, such was the disinclination for the 16,000 in attendance to divert their attention from the action.

Melbourne has a reputation of being insufficiently attentive at set-pieces and it was this frailty which led to Adelaide taking the lead inside sixty seconds. Kevin Muscat had blocked an Adelaide run, and conceded a free-kick wide left. Reid took orthodox lofted aim towards the far-post where Fyfe jumped in an aerial contest with Sukha. It was Fyfe who was the stronger, powering his header high into the net beyond Petkovic's reach, earning a bloodied brow in so doing.

It was a startling opening, and established an adventurous standard which was applied throughout the game by both teams equally committed to a win.

Sukha, who was highly effective until his substitution twenty minutes from time, should consider himself lucky to have seen any of the match beyond the quarter-hour following his knee-high contact with Mathew Leckie. No offence was detected by the officials, allowing the Sukha to remain on the park. Leckie's knee was already strapped and looked to have been bent out of shape by the challenge. The youngster played no further part in the game and was replaced by Fabian Barbiero, but not before Victory had equalised.

Kruse took possession of the ball following a sharp pass from Sukha after the Thai international had taken a quick throw-in to Grant Brebner, then had the ball speedily returned to him. Kruse strode towards goal, letting loose a shot from 25 metres. It was struck with venom and perhaps it was this which caught Galekovic by surprise as he was well-beaten, low at his near post.

Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen was fuming on the sidelines, unable to have a full complement of players on the park due to Leckie's absence, and his inability to bring on Barbiero as substitute during the stoppage prior to the throw. Barbiero's time on the park was itself truncated as Coolen elected to replace him ten minutes into the second half for Iain Ramsay.

Sukha later had an excellent chance after being set free behind the Adelaide back-line, but unaccountably over-ran the ball, reducing the option to playing weakly across the face of goal where Adelaide's numbers snuffed out any opportunity to capitalise.

Adelaide's Adam Hughes forced a fine reaction save from Petkovic when he shot from an acute angle close-in after ghosting in behind the Victory defence.

And stand-in captain Lucas Pantelis took advantage of some defensive looseness from Kevin Muscat late in the half, advancing on Petkovic from the inside-left position before forcing a fine deflection over the bar from the Melbourne goalkeeper.

Cassio - one of the visitors' best on the night - was constantly dangerous when linking down the left. One such occasion saw him speeding to the bye-line before he sent a promising low cross towards the forward edge of the six-yard box. Petkovic was quickly out and needed to ensure he held the ball under the predatory gaze of Sergio van Dijk.

But it was the talismanic Hernandez who gave Melbourne a deserved lead just before the second-half's midpoint. He'd cleverly held up a forward pass just inside the Adelaide half, playing a look-away pass to Kruse, who - in turn - quickly found Tom Pondeljak bursting through the inside-right channel. Pondeljak played centrally as the Adelaide defence was floundering, where substitute Mate Dugandzic laid the ball into Hernandez's path, eleven metres out. Hernandez gleefully accepted the gift with Galekovic hopelessly exposed by the speed of the move.

Hernandez and Kruse had chances to wrap up the game as Adelaide pressed to keep its undefeated record alive, but despite outnumbering their defensive opponents, failed to take advantage. Five minutes from time, Pondeljak with support either side, elected to shoot, finding the post rather than the net.

In the game's last frantic moments, Shin - introduced with twelve minutes to play for defender Cameron Watson - sent in a cannonball shot which Petkovic only just reached to divert onto the post.

As Ben Williams' whistle blew to signify the end to a gladiatorial contest, players of both sides fell exhausted to the ground, Melbourne's with elation intermixed, Adelaide's with resigned despair. It was yet another blank against Melbourne, when its form this season, and its start in this game, promised a much more satisfactory conclusion.

A-League - 2010/2011 Season - Round 12
Friday 29 October, 2010
at Docklands Stadium, Melbourne

Melbourne Victory FC 2
(Robbie Kruse 21', Carlos Hernandez 68')
Adelaide United FC 1
(Iain Fyfe 1')

    Crowd: 16,269


    Melbourne Victory FC :
    Player listing:
    (3-4-3) 1. Michael Petkovic (gk), 23. Adrian Leijer (c), 2 Kevin Muscat (c ), 12 Rodrigo Vargas, 15 Tom Pondeljak, 8 Grant Brebner, 14 Billy Celeski, 5 Surat Sukha (6 Leigh Broxham +69'), 9 Ricardinho (3 Mate Dugandzic +46'), 16 Carlos Hernandez, 21 Robbie Kruse.
    Substitutes not used: 20. Sebastian Mattei (rgk)

    Coach: Ernie Merrick

    Yellow Cards: Kevin Muscat 33', Leigh Broxham 85'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Adelaide United FC :
    Player listing:
    (4-3-3) 1. Eugene Galekovic, 24. Cameron Watson (16 Iseob Shin +76'), 4 Iain Fyfe, 2 Robbie Cornthwaite, 6 Cassio, 8 Adam Hughes, 12 Paul Reid, 10 Marco Flores, 19 Mathew Leckie (18 Fabian Barbiero +21' (17 Iain Ramsay +55')), 9 Sergio van Dijk, 7 Lucas Pantelis (c)
    Substitutes not used: Mark Birighitti (rgk)

    Coach: Rini Coolen

    Yellow Cards: Fabian Barbiero 36', Paul Reid 76', Adam Highes 90'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Ben Williams
    Assistants - AR1: Hakan Anaz, AR2: Luke Brennan; Fourth Official: Lucien Laverdure

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 8/10

    BOTN Player Points :

    3. Carlos Hernandez (Melbourne Victory)
    2. Cassio (Adelaide United)
    1. Robbie Kruse (Melbourne Victory)

    Match Report by Alan Clark

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 compete accuracy although we do strive for that. FFA has not this season accredited any Photographers for BOTN, so any photos used here, unless attributed, are as supplied by FFA and used by permission.

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