Troisi wizardry downs Brisbane Roar
By Zee Ko
Hyundai A-League 2013/14 – Round 3 – 25, October, 2013
7.30 PM at Etihad Stadium, Docklands
Melbourne Victory 1
Brisbane Roar 0
A tough week for Melbourne Victory supporters and coach Ange Postecoglou ended on a bittersweet note, as they eked out a 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar on Friday night.
James Troisi’s magical goal on 56 minutes was enough to hand the hosts a narrow lead they never relinquished, as Postecoglou ended his tenure with a win over another of his former employers.
The run up to the game had been dominated by the 48-year-old’s ascension to the top job in Australia, with Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey only too happy to take potshots at his predecessor.
It was Postecoglou who emerged with the plaudits however, despite a disappointing atmosphere at Etihad Stadium, where just over 21,000 fans turned up to farewell the much-loved hometown boy.
There was little in the way of vocal support early on too, with large swaths of the Northern Terrace support having migrated to Level 3 General Admission in an ongoing protest against overzealous security measures.
Likewise, the opening few minutes of action were tepid, with both sides landing glancing blows but failing to register a real shot on goal.
The North End finally found their voice in the 12th minute, roaring down from the heavens as Archie Thompson was pulled up by an offside flag – not for the last time this game.
Victory’s evergreen forward did much better two minutes after though, bamboozling his marker by playing in an overlapping Adama Traore before the left back pumped a glorious outswinging cross into the box.
Alas, Mitch Nichols got his header awfully wrong as he steamed in at the back post, the ball bouncing off the back of his head and out for a throw on the far side.
Adrian Leijer soon required treatment after contesting a high ball with Thomas Broich, as Brisbane’s German playmaker somehow launched his head straight into the Victory defender’s.
There were worrying faces all around as Leijer appeared dazed, but the former Victory captain quickly shrugged off the cobwebs to soon make a vital tackle on Kwame Yeboah as the young Roar attacker threatened to go clear on goal.
Up the other end, Troisi was looking dangerous, skipping past a mass of Brisbane defenders to open up and shoot on goal, but Jack Hingert had the presence of mind and reflexes to slide in and block the shot.
The home side were having the better of the chances so far, but as the minutes ticked down to halftime, Brisbane suddenly found a second gear that had been missing all evening.
A bit of head tennis in the Victory area almost resulted in a goal, as Liam Miller threw himself at the ball and headed it fractionally wide of goal.
Goalkeeper Nathan Coe would have been thanking his lucky stars, as his late leap was nowhere near the shot.
The Victory goalkeeper had to be on his toes however, as Yeboah found the space to shoot at him three minutes before the break before Broich’s effort was firmly punched away to safety shortly after.
It was Victory who came firing out of the blocks in the second half however, with Thompson, Nichols and Leigh Broxham involved in an intricate move in the final third of the pitch, but Nichols’ final effort was weak and easily gathered up by Michael Theo in the Brisbane goal.
Leijer and Luke Bratten were then involved in an ugly clash of legs, the Brisbane midfielder worse off as he limped off with a contusion on his right shin.
Then, on 56 minutes, Troisi struck with a goal that rivalled his exuberant equaliser from a week ago against Adelaide.
Once again, it was the product of some beautiful one-touch football as Nichols played the ball to Thompson, who in turn laid it into the path of an onrushing Troisi.
The on-loan midfielder’s first touch was unnecessarily heavy, but it also served to propel the ball beyond Brisbane captain Matthew Smith as Troisi found an extra burst of speed to get to the ball and squeeze it through the narrowest of angles to beat Theo all ends up.
Troisi was off to the races as the ball bulged the net, leaping over the advertising hoardings and into the many eager arms that awaited him in the supporters bay.
The momentum was all with the home side now, as Nichols flashed another shot narrowly wide, and Theo had to spread himself well to save from Thompson who was onside for once.
A rash of substitutions then slowed the pace of the game, as Troisi and Nichols came off for much deserved rests, while Mulvey threw on Henrique in an attempt to discover some attacking impetus.
The Brazilian striker looked willing and far more incisive than an off-colour Broich, but like the rest of his teammates could not seem to find a way past a determined Victory defence.
Ivan Franjic had perhaps the best chance in the dying minutes as the crowd urged referee Ben Williams to call an end to proceedings, but his shot took a massive deflection off a Victory defender before falling well short of the target.
It was just not to be Brisbane’s night, as the final whistle went and Postecoglou strode on to the pitch to receive the plaudits.
Melbourne Victory FC
1. Nathan Coe (gk), 3. Adama Traore, 4. Nicholas Ansell, 5. Mark Milligan (c) 6. Leigh Broxham, 9. Kosta Barbarouses, 10. Archie Thompson, 14. James Troisi (7. Guilherme Finkler +66’), 15. Mitchell Nichols (11. Connor Pain +82’), 23. Adrian Leijer, 25. Jason Geria (24. Scott Galloway +85’)
Substitutes not used:
16. Rashid Mahazi, 20. Lawrence Thomas (rgk)
Coach: Ange Postecoglou
Yellow cards: Milligan (55’)
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar FC
1. Michael Theo (gk), 2. Matthew Smith (c), 3. Shane Steffanuto, 5. Ivan Franjic, 11. Liam Miller (10. Henrique +67’), 13. Jade North, 17. Matthew McKay, 18. Luke Brattan (23. Dimitri Petratos, +53’), 19. Jack Hingert, 22. Thomas Broich, 29. Kwame Yeboah (26. Corey Brown +82’)
Substitutes not used:
15. James Donachie, 20. Matthew Acton (rgk)
Coach: Mike Mulvey
Yellow cards: Franjic (36’), Stefanutto (58’), Theo (71’), Hingert (73’)
Red cards: Nil
Referee: Ben Williams
Assistants: Luke Brennan, Jonathan Barreiro 4th Official: Lucien Laverdure
BOTN Player points:
3. James Troisi (Melbourne Victory)
2. Adrian Leijer (Melbourne Victory)
1. Mitchell Nichols (Melbourne Victory)
Pitch: 7/10 (One side of the pitch had brown tyre tracks on it, as if someone with a tractor had decided to attempt a pitch invasion before fleeing. The other side was relatively and curiously pristine.)
Game rating: 7/10
By Zee Ko