Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 8

Victory turnaround
stuns luckless Glory
By Zee Ko

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - First Elimination Final
7:30pm, Friday 5 April, 2013
at Docklands Stadium

Melbourne Victory FC 2
(Mark Milligan, pen 90+1', Archie Thompson, 95')
Perth Glory FC 1
(Ryo Nagai 15')

Perth Glory thought they had gained their second away win over Melbourne Victory in two weeks, but ended up getting dumped out of this A-League finals series by a late onslaught from the hosts as the game ended 2-1.

The stakes were always going to be high in the first of the Elimination Finals this season, but no one could have predicted such a topsy-turvy affair that literally came to life in the closing minutes of regulation time.

A goal from Ryo Nagai gave Perth the early advantage but Shane Smeltz was left to rue a late penalty miss as Mark Milligan's own penalty with seconds remaining drew Victory level.

Archie Thompson then completed the stunning turnaround with a diving header five minutes into extra time to leave ten-men Glory down and out.

The visitors drew first blood with 15 minutes on the clock when the Victory defence inexplicably went to sleep.

As Scott Jamieson found space on the left flank to send in a wicked cross, the opposition defenders were all at sea.

Nathan Coe stood rooted to the spot, stunned into inaction as an unmarked Ryo Nagai stole into the centre of the penalty area before gleefully chesting the ball past the bewildered goalkeeper and into the net.

Victory were insipid and lacking ideas for most of the first half, star winger Marco Rojas strangely anonymous as marquee man Marcos Flores sat kicking his heels on the bench.

Glory on the other hand were defending their lead to a man, nine bodies back at every opportunity as they countered every home advance into their territory.

Victory coach Ange Postecoglou finally had enough, pulling right back Jason Geria shortly after the break and introducing playmaker Flores.

Shane Smeltz, toting a fetching black headband, was having a wretched night in front of goal and this continued for much of the second half as he blazed chance after chance over the crossbar or straight at Nathan Coe.

The home crowd was getting increasingly restless as decision after decision went against them, and howled as one as Steve Pantelidis went into the book for a wild lunge on Archie Thompson that probably left stud marks in the Victory player's thigh after the fact.

Postecoglou decided to throw caution to the wind this time, taking off Scott Galloway for Andrew Nabbout and leaving Leigh Broxham and Connor Pain as unorthodox full backs with six minutes to go on the clock.

Three minutes later and he must have thought it was all over as the normally reliable Mark Milligan tripped Jamieson in the box.

The whistle was blown and the referee duly pointed to the spot as Shane Smeltz stepped up to surely seal the tie and send Perth to the next stage.

Much had to be going through the Glory striker's mind at this moment, and perhaps he had amped himself up a little too much as his crashing drive found the underside of the crossbar and bounced right back out again.

An almighty roar went up from the crowd as Coe initiated a quick counter attack and there was no denying that the tide had turned.

Help was still needed though and it came from a controversial source as referee Jarred Gillett decided to even things up with the softest of penalty claims.

Andrew Nabbout killed the ball with his upper arm in the box, a handball offence that went unnoticed, before he went down under the slightest of tugs from Pantelidis.

The partisan crowd didn't care a jot though, as Pantelidis then saw red for his subsequent vehement protests to the referee.

It was Milligan's turn to make amends for his earlier error and he did so with aplomb, showing Smeltz how it was done with a firm, confident strike into the bottom right corner of the net.

Perth were reeling now, and things did not get any better in extra time as Marco Rojas finally sparked up enough to send in a sizzling cross in the 95th minute.

Veteran Thompson needed no second invitation, diving headfirst at the far post and scoring awkwardly with his face as Vuckovic's desperately stretching fingers found air.

But the 20,000-strong crowd didn't care in the least, for Victory were home and dry as Perth rued yet another missed opportunity.

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - First Elimination Final
7:30pm, Friday 5 April, 2013
at Docklands Stadium

Melbourne Victory FC 2
(Mark Milligan, pen 90+1', Archie Thompson, 95')
Perth Glory FC 1
(Ryo Nagai 15')



    Melbourne Victory FC :
    Player listing:
    39 Nathan Coe (gk), 5 Mark Milligan, 6 Leigh Broxham (21 Spase Dilevski +109'), 10 Archie Thompson, 11 Marco Rojas, 14 Billy Celeski, 23 Adrian Leijer (c), 30 Jason Geria (9 Marcos Flores +48'), 31 Scott Galloway (26 Andrew Nabbout +84'), 32 Connor Pain, 33 Daniel Mullen

    Substitutes not used: 1 Tando Velaphi (rgk), 8 Jonathan Bru

    Coach: Ange Postecoglou (Waterboy: Lawrence Thomas)

    Yellow Cards: Marco Rojas (45+2'), Jason Geria (48'), Leigh Broxham (54'), Billy Celeski (71'), Adrian Leijer (75')
    Red Cards:Nil

    Perth Glory FC :
    Player listing:
    1 Daniel Vuckovic (gk), 5 Steve Pantelidis, 7 Jacob Burns (c), 9 Shane Smeltz, 10 Liam Miller (28 Daniel De Silva +105'), 11 Adrian Zahra (8 Dean Heffernan +63'), 12 Ryo Nagai, 18 Matias Cordoba (14 Steven McGarry +96'), 19 Joshua Risdon, 21 Scott Jamieson, 23 Michael Thwaite

    Substitutes not used: 30 Lewis Italiano (rgk), 2 Jack Clisby

    Coach: Alistair Edwards

    Yellow Cards: Scott Jamieson (26'), Steve Pantelidis (68')
    Red Cards: Steve Pantelidis (90')

    Referee: Jarred Gillett 'banana'/10

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Billy Celeski (MV)
    2. Scott Jamieson (PG)
    1. Connor Pain (MV)

    Pitch rating: 7/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    Match report and ratings: By Zee Ko

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. Any photos used here are as attributed.

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