Hyundai A-League Season 6

Rampant Reds smash
Victory hoodoo
By Alan Clark

A-League - 2010/2011 Season - Round 22
Sunday 9 January, 2010
at Melbourne Football Stadium

Melbourne Victory FC 1
(Mate Djuganzic 90'+4)
lost to
Adelaide United FC 4
(Marcos Flores 12', Sergio van Dijk 57' 78', Fabian Barbiero 75')

(Linked from FFA site)

Adelaide United threw off its recent run of poor form, and comprehensively cast aside its bad record against Melbourne Victory with a four-one win in Melbourne, United's first win against Victory in three years.

The margin of the triumph could well have been more such was the visitors' dominance across the ground. Victory's solitary consolation arose as the last act of play, deep into added time, the game already unalterably lost.

Sergio van Dijk used his strength and guile to net twice, his first after man-of-the-match Marco Flores had put Adelaide ahead before the quarter-hour. His second came minutes after substitute Fabian Barbiero had made it three with his first touch, and direct from the re-start after a nasty off-the-ball altercation involving the majority of players following a clash between Evan Berger and Adelaide debutant Francisco Usucar.

Berger was lucky to stay on the field after the incident, only cautioned by referee Peter Green who also booked Barbiero for his part in the melee.

By this stage, Victory was already a man short, having lost captain Kevin Muscat for his second yellow just after the hour. Indeed, Green was one of the busier participants in the game, brandishing deserved yellow cards to eight players, evidence of how competitive the rivalry is between these two A-League bulls.

The win illustrates Adelaide's recent poor run of results was a mere anomaly in the same way it showed Melbourne's recent successful series, based as it was on unlikely and late winners, was built on insubstantial foundations. Adelaide will gain confidence from the margin and manner of its win when considering its championship chances. Victory's will be substantially eroded.

Adelaide strength was in its flanks. Travis Dodd, returning to action after injury, was at his energetic best on the right, and Iain Ramsay on the left regularly tore the Victory defence apart. The signs were present from the early moments which led to Adelaide's opener. Ramsay sped down the wing to the goal-line and picked out Dodd at the far-post, outjumping the smaller Berger to place the ball into the path of Flores at the penalty-spot. Flores was quicker to the ball than Adrian Leijer and converted from directly in front.

Adelaide might have had a decent claim for a penalty midway through the half when Muscat looked to have brought down Cassio at the bye-line, but Green waved it away.

And not long after, Grant Brebner was adjudged not to have deliberately handled the ball when under pressure from Ramsay just outside the penalty-area as both were in pursuit of a ball which had penetrated the Victory defence.

Melbourne was creating little of significance, despite shading possesion. Ricardinho was working hard up front, but poses less danger than either of the absent pair Archie Thompson and Robbie Kruse. He sought to find the returning Danny Allsopp on one occasion from a cross, but the alert Adelaide goalkeeper Mark Birighitti, once again preferred over Eugene Galekovic, was able to intercept before it reached its target.

And Carlos Hernandez was nullified by an effective Adelaide midfield, well marshalled by Adam Hughes, although the Costa Rican escaped once when he threaded a clever pass to Billy Celeski behind the reds' back-line, only for Robbie Cornthwaite to make a last-ditch block. Just before the half, Hernandez again escaped defensive attention, turning sharply on a pass from Brebner to launch a shot Birighitti was grateful to get a block to and send the ball for a corner instead.

Victory coach Ernie Merrick took off Leijer at the break, bringing on the more adventurous Marvin Angulo in his place, in an attempt to get back into the game. Angulo's first involvement however almost cost Victory a second goal, as Cassio robbed him at the half-way line and sprinted goalwards, eventually shooting across the face of goal as defenders gave vain chase.

Adelaide continued its dominance. Van Dijk gave notice of his threat minutes later, brushing off a poor challenge from Rodi Vargas midpitch, then effortlessly sending Muscat the wrong way with a shimmy after fine set-up work by Cameron Watson, and requiring Victory goalkeeper Michael Petkovic to make fine save.

The relief was only temporary. Muscat had been beaten by Cassio for pace, and fouled him to prevent a break, earning the first of his yellow cards as a result. The punishment however had not been completed, as from the re-start, van Dijk blasted past Petkovic from fully 25 metres to put Adelaide two up.

Muscat obtained his second caution and so was sent on his way shortly after for directing a trailing arm across the face of Hughes as both sought possession of a bouncing mid-pitch ball. The action was unnecessary as Muscat had obtained clean possession and was on his way into clear space. It's an aspect of the combative veteran's game which does him no service, and now left his team a player short at a critical time in the contest.

This player deficit was surgically exposed by Adelaide in the game's remaining half-hour.

Berger put aside thoughts of his side's dire position, launching a mazy run down the inside-left channel, creating space after turning Watson before shooting inches over.

But reality struck not long after as Adelaide brought on Barbiero for the tiring Dodd. The youngster's first involvement was to net Adelaide's game-clinching third. Iain Fyfe had climbed highest at the far-post to head down a corner. Berger was able to make the initial block, but Barbiero was lurking to blast the loose ball high into the net from one metre.

Then, in a moment which did Berger's fair-play reputation no good, as Usucar mis-read Australia's football culture and dived after an innocuous challenge mid-pitch, the Victory youngster slid feet first into the Uruguayan's prone body right in front of both benches.

Green and his fourth official had their hands full in the melee which ensued. Barbiero may have been unlucky to have been picked out for a caution amongst all the unsavoury activity on display, but Berger can think himself fortunate to have remained on the pitch with only a similar caution.

But again, the punishment had not concluded. It's a feature of Victory free-kick play that has Melbourne quick to consider the possibilities which arise from a re-start. So it was surprising that it was vulnerable to Adelaide employing the same strategy.

Fyfe saw van Dijk in a promising position with Victory still to compose itself and played a route-one ball. Vargas unaccountably allowed the ball to run, and van Dijk stole in behind him to beat Petkovic to the touch, and sent the ball trickling over the goal-line as both were floored from the collision.

Rini Coolen understandably withdrew Usucar for Paul Reid, but the players' continued rambunctiousness caused another five names to be recorded in Green's notebook before the final whistle.

Djuganovic's name was also recorded, but as Victory's sole scorer, and in the fourth minute of added time when it had no bearing on the result, receiving only rudimentary celebration from his team-mates and the rapidly vanishing Victory support.

A-League - 2010/2011 Season - Round 22
Sunday 9 January, 2010
at Melbourne Football Stadium

Melbourne Victory FC 1
(Mate Djuganzic 90'+4)
lost to
Adelaide United FC 4
(Marcos Flores 12', Sergio van Dijk 57' 78', Fabian Barbiero 75')

    Crowd: 18,558


    Melbourne Victory FC :
    Player listing:
    (4-3-1-2) 1. Michael Petkovic (gk), 23 Adrian Leijer (11 Marvin Angulo +46'), 2 Kevin Muscat (c)(RC), 12 Rodrigo Vargas, 19 Evan Berger (6 Leigh Broxham +87'), 13 Diogo Ferreira, 14 Billy Celeski, 8 Grant Brebner, 16 Carlos Hernandez, 9 Ricardinho (3 Mate Dugandzic +74'), 18 Danny Allsopp.
    Substitutes not used: 20. Sebastian Mattei (rgk)

    Coach: Ernie Merrick

    Yellow Cards: Ricardinho 26', Kevin Muscat 57' 65', Evan Berger 79', Danny Allsopp 81', Marvin Angulo 87'
    Red Cards: Kevin Muscat 65'

    Adelaide United FC :
    Player listing:
    (4-3-3) 20. Mark Birighitti (gk), 24. Cameron Watson, 4. Iain Fyfe (c), 2. Robbie Cornthwaite, 6. Cassio, 8. Adam Hughes, 10. Marco Flores, 21. Francisco Usucar (12. Paul Reid +78'), 13 Travis Dodd, (18. Fabian Barbiero +73'), 9. Sergio van Dijk (7 Lucas Pantelis +81), 17. Iain Ramsay.
    Substitutes not used: 1. Eugene Galekovic (rgk)

    Coach: Rini Coolen

    Yellow Cards: Fransisco Usucar 46', Fabian Barbiero 79', Marco Flores 80'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Peter Green
    Assistant Referee 1: Shaun Evans, AR2: Luke Brennan; Fourth Official: Alex Azcurra

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 8/10

    BOTN Player Points :

    3. Marco Flores (Adelaide United)
    2. Cassio (Adelaide United)
    1. Sergio van Dijk (Adelaide United)

    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 or issued by FFA, or other authoritative source. Any Photographers for BOTN, so any photos used here, unless attributed, are as supplied by FFA and used by permission.

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