Hyundai A-League - 2012/2013 - Season 8

'Big Blue' draw keeps Sydney in touch with 6
By Stephen Webb

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 25
7:45pm, Saturday 16 March, 2013
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 1
(Yairo Yau 85')
drew with
Melbourne Victory FC 1
(Mark Milligan 3')

(Photo by Stephen Webb for BOTN)

The last home game of the season often ends with a tinge of sadness for members or season ticket holders. You sit near one another and cheer and curse and analyse games together every second week of the regular competition and suddenly it’s “See you in October.”

This week’s sadness was compounded by our disappointment that Sydney couldn’t capitalise on its territorial and possession advantage over a depleted Melbourne Victory and secure three valuable points in the quest for a finals berth.

We wanted the season to go on. We wanted stoppage time to go on. “Three minutes! When Sydney’s winning, stoppage time goes for five minutes at least!”

By all accounts the game was exciting. Lots of goalmouth action. Tension until the final whistle. But we were frustrated. The football was poor. The refereeing was atrocious. The stars on both sides failed so dismally they made the opposing keepers look good.

“Match of the season”, “pulsating”, “epic”.

We saw more poor defending give Melbourne an early lead. Chances squandered. Easy turnovers. Clear penalties denied.

What we wanted was to see Sydney play like they warranted making the finals. We didn’t want to see a fortunate draw or even a lucky win (though we would have taken the points).

We wanted to see Melbourne well beaten.

After all Melbourne were without Traore, Flores and Leijer. They had Thompson, of course (what a fine player he has become), and Milligan acquitted himself well. But if you can’t rumble Melbourne Victory when Marco Rojas has a bad day at the office, when can you?

Especially when Sydney went out with an all-attack line-up. Attacking midfielders and three strikers on the bench. Brett Emerton moved to the middle (crowding out the talents of Peter Triantis) to shoulder more responsibility (sometimes effectively), while Terry Antonis started wider on the right.

Ivan Necevski started in goal for the first time in ages because Vedran Janjetovic was caught in traffic (well that’s what a guy in the beer queue told me).

Melbourne had the perfect start: before the crowd had settled in their seats Connor Pain crossed from the left and Mark Milligan, getting ahead of Rhyan Grant, had an easy task to slide the ball under Necevski. An early chance for Sydney also came on a cross from the left. Terry Antonis made contact with his head but ... “Was that a shot or a pass?”

Sebastian Ryall down the right decided to take on several defenders instead of releasing to Del Piero on the edge of Melbourne’s penalty area.

Joel Griffiths received a beautiful ball (one must assume from Del Piero) in the box but his first touch took him too wide to make any use of it.

Sydney were in the first instance looking for Emerton, who usually looked up for Del Piero — usually with Leigh Broxham on him and two others nearby.

When Sydney were too tentative clearing from their box and Necevski fumbled, the Melbourne player in the thick of the action stumbled over the ball with the goal beckoning.

Thompson, playing deep with three teammates in front of him, came forward only to be hit hard by a sliding Tiago Calvano.

Sydney fans were soon baying for a red card when Nathan Coe handled outside the penalty area, denying Del Piero a scoring opportunity. They had no joy from the referee and no joy from Del Piero, whose free kick was poor.

Adam Griffiths threw his body in the line of a shot from Thomson, aided by Pain, Broxham was pulled up for a foul on Del Piero and the maestro took an even worse free kick.

A Peter Triantis shot was blocked after Emerton found space to the left of the Melbourne penalty area, Del Piero won a corner, and Daniel Mullen played safe with a Ryall cross after another precision pass from Del Piero.

Sydney were taking the game to Melbourne, mostly in Melbourne’s half, and there was more than a little feeling in every tackle.

Del Piero played inside for Antonis who with a neat flick put Joel Griffiths on goal again but again Griffiths’ first touch let him down.

Antonis was impressive playing down the right and crossing, followed by rubbish control by Emerton and a useless long cross by Ryall.

Del Piero appealed confidently for a blatant Broxham hand ball in Melbourne’s box but referee Strebre Delovski would not oblige (the crowd even more incensed when replays showed Del Piero’s disbelief was more than justified).

Ali Abbas won a corner, Triantis fouled Rojas, and Sydney looked like they didn’t know what they should be doing. At least they were stopping Melbourne doing whatever they’d be practising.

Sydney kicked off the second half, lost the ball, won the ball back and Abbas had a shot not far off target.

Sydney won another free kick just outside the Melbourne box and Del Piero hit the wall. Joel Griffiths let slip another chance but Sydney won another corner, which saw the ball bounce harmlessly through the box. Broxham dragged his studs down the back of Del Piero’s leg and got a ticking off from Delovski.

In the 54th minute Del Piero had a chance in front of goal, turned and shot with his right foot but got no real purchase on the ball.

He made up for it by releasing Joel Griffiths down the left, Griffiths supplying Emerton, whose shot was nothing to write home about (do you reckon former Socceroos write home about their exploits for A-League teams?).

Then Coe started earning his man-of-the-match points, saving a shot from Triantis.

Melbourne were now playing with just two in front of Thompson. Antonis got into the Melbourne box and won a penalty that Del Piero ... well, the less said the better. Good effort by Coe to block it, nevertheless.

Necevski had to make a good save at the other end to stop Pain free on goal, Coe palmed over a shot from Emerton, and Necevski came out to Thompson, free on goal, pushing him wide, and then pulled in a Thompson cross.

Joel Griffiths actually won a ball and put Del Piero through on goal. But Del Piero didn’t have a shot in him.

Yairo Yau came on for Joel Griffiths and Triantis had a shot on target following a clearance from a Sydney corner.

Thompson had a shot on target but Necevski got down to save. Rojas missed a sitter after a typical Sydney defensive blunder.

Antonis and Del Piero combined to goof up another good chance — Sydney could never score at this rate.

Rojas was again free on goal but Necevski saved — more because Rojas was feeble than Necevski inspired.

Coe was twice good coming out of his area to collect long balls from Sydney.

Rojas was on goal again and Necevski stopped him again. And Coe kept his tally up, making a great save against Yau.

Sydney kept the pressure on. Antonis blasted high. A corner was cleared to Emerton, who won another corner. And the equaliser came in the 85th minute with Grant heading on a corner from the right and Yau burying the ball ... in the back of the net.

Emerton lobbed another shot high and Grant shot wide after another vain appeal for handball in the box.

Pain shot wide on the end of a smart Melbourne counter attack.

Pulsating. Perhaps. But it sure wasn’t pretty.

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 25
7:45pm, Saturday 16 March, 2013
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 1
(Yairo Yau 85')
drew with
Melbourne Victory FC 1
(Mark Milligan 3')

    Crowd: 22,233


    Sydney FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Ivan Necevski (gk), 2. Sebastian Ryall, 7. Brett Emerton, 8. Adam Griffiths, 10. Alessandro Del Piero, 13. Tiago Calvano, 17. Terry Antonis, 22. Ali Abbas (16. Joel Chianese +64’), 23. Rhyan Grant, 26. Peter Triantis (12. Blake Powell +78'), 29. Joel Griffiths (21. Yairo Yau +71')

    Substitutes: 20. Vedran Janjetovic (gk)

    Coach: Frank Farina

    Yellow Cards: Ali Abbas 29’, Sebastian Ryall 31’, Tiago Calvano 90'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Melbourne Victory FC :
    Player listing:
    39. Nathan Coe (gk), 5. Mark Milligan, 6. Leigh Broxham, 10. Archie Thompson (13. Diogo Ferreira +84'), 11. Marco Rojas, 14. Billy Celeski, 21. Spase Dilevski (17. James Jeggo +69'), 31. Scott Galloway, 32. Connor Pain, 33. Daniel Mullen, 34. Dylan Murnane (18. Francesco Stella +86')

    Substitutes: 1. Tando Velaphi (rgk)

    Coach: Ange Postecoglou

    Yellow Cards: Nathan Coe 16’, Billy Celeski 32'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Sebre Delovski 5/10
    Assistant referees: Ashley Beecham, David Walsh; Fourth Official: Stephen Lucas

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Nathan Coe (Melbourne Victory FC)
    2. Terry Antonis (Sydney FC)
    1. Ivan Necevski (Sydney FC)

    Pitch rating: 6/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    Match report, photos and ratings: Stephen Webb

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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