Last gasp Fink Magic seals Victory
by Tomasz Ng:
Hyundai A-League 2013/14, Finals Week 1
7:30pm, Friday 18 April – Docklands Stadium, Melbourne
Melbourne Victory FC 2
(Archie Thompson 19’, Gui Finkler 90+1’)
Sydney FC 1
(Seb Ryall 33’)
Gui Finkler’s last gasp effort has sent Melbourne Victory into the next week of Finals after they beat Sydney FC 2-1 on Good Friday.
The Brazilian unleashed a half volley in the box to send the crowd into delirium after what was an otherwise slow game.
Archie Thompson got the hosts of to the perfect start in the 19th minute, but they failed to go on with it and paid the price when Seb Ryall equalised in the 33rd.
In the end both sides had chances to win the game and Sydney will be ruing some missed chances in that second half.
The Sky Blues barely got a touch of the football in the first half an hour, and the first real action of the game was Thompson’s goal.
Pablo Contreras dispossessed Alessandro Del Piero on the left wing, and centred the ball to James Troisi who squared a through ball to Thompson.
The forward needed no invitation to shoot as he curled his effort first time past Vedran Janjetovic.
But seemingly out of nothing, Sydney equalised after forcing a couple of corners.
Victory failed to clear their lines properly and the ball was played out to Abbas on the left wing, for the Iraqi international to cross in to an unmarked Ryall.
The fullback just ghosted in between a couple of defenders and tapped the ball in through the legs of Nathan Coe.
There was more action to round out the half as Thompson fluffed a gilt edged chance to spark a sequence of corners that ended in Milligan having a header well saved by Janjetovic, then Geria seeing a goal bound shot blocked.
Sydney responded to it with another close chance of their own when Del Piero hit the post from a Garcia cross.
But the Victory hit them right back with a counter attack, which Thompson couldn’t capitalise on with his wide finish.
The second half started in the Sky Blues favour, as Terry Antonis pounced on a poor pass out of the back by Nick Ansell, but his shot was parried behind by Coe.
Matt Jurman then headed the resulting corner towards goal and Coe clawed the effort up and over the bar to keep the scores level.
Victory were struggling to find any rhythm as Sydney squeezed them throughout, and the Sky Blues should’ve gone ahead in the 76th minute when Ranko Despotovic shot wide.
In the end they paid for their profligacy in front of goal when Finkler found himself free in the box to smash home a half volley.
The result means that Victory will face either one of Brisbane Roar or Western Sydney Wanderers, depending on the result of Central Coast Mariners against Adelaide United.
They will also head to Korea with confidence to face Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Tuesday in the AFC Champions League group stage decider.
1. Nathan Coe [GK], 2. Pablo Contreras, 3. Adama Traore, 4. Nicholas Ansell, 5. Mark Milligan, 6. Leigh Broxham (16. Rashid Mahazi 79’), 7. Gui Finkler (17. James Jeggo 90+2), 9. Kosta Barbarouses, 10. Archie Thompson, 14. James Troisi, 25. Jason Geria (24. Scott Galloway 67’)
Unused Substitutes: 20. Lawrence Thomas [GK], 11. Connor Pain
Yellow Cards: Contreras 53’, Milligan 87’
Red Cards: Nil
20. Vedran Janjetovic [GK], 2. Sebastian Ryall,, 5. Matthew Jurman, 6. Nikola Petkovic, 10. Alessandro Del Piero, 11. Richard Garcia, 13. Sasa Ognenovski, 16. Joel Chianese (4. Ranko Despotovic 71’), 17. Terry Antonis, 21. Milos Dimitrijevic, 22. Ali Abbas
Unused Substitutes: 1. Ivan Necevski [GK], 28. Matthew Thompson, 29. Alec Urosevski, 34. Aaron Calver
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Peter Green
Assistants: David Walsh, Anton Shchetinin, Jarred Gillett
Pitch Rating: 9/10
Game Rating: 5/10
3. Gui Finkler
2. Ali Abbas
1. Nathan Coe
By Tomasz Ng