Big Blue delivers big thrills

By Mark Gojszky:

Hyundai A-League – Season 10 – 2014/2015 – Round 10
7.30 pm, Saturday 13 December, 2014 –  Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

Melbourne Victory FC 2 (Thompson 12′ 45+2′ 82′)

drew with

Sydney FC 1 (Janko 17′, Smeltz 51′ 76′)


The name may be a cliche, but the occasion certainly isn’t, as Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in the ‘Big Blue’.

An Archie Thompson hat-trick was accompanied by a brace to Shane Smeltz and another goal to Mark Janko.

The contest came to life in the 13th minute after Khalfallah’s burst from the left resulted in a ball to Berisha on the right – his shot was saved by Janjetovic, who also denied Thompson on the follow up, but the ‘keeper could do nothing to deny the 36-year-old on the third effort.

Just minutes later Janko had the equaliser for Sydney after getting on the end of a sublime Shane Smeltz flick and finishing cooly past Nathan Coe, despite later replays indicating the Austrian was offside.

Despite momentarily going down to 10 men after Terry Antonis copped a stray elbow from Mark Milligan, Sydney should have taken the lead when Ibini slipped through Alex Brosque who smashed the upright.

Ibini was the next Sydney player with a good effort on goal, skipping to the edge of the 18 yard box and forcing Coe into a strong save.

Just as Sydney seemed to have wrestled the momentum, Victory struck to take the lead just before half time, with Kosta Barbarouses dribbling at goal and teeing up Thompson for a strong finish.

Barbarouses pounced on a Sydney mistake right after the restart, fizzing a left footed strike just high of the crossbar.

Brosque again should have scored down the other end after running into the box, instead choosing to play a squaring ball to Janko in the middle which was picked off by Victory defenders.

The visitors did eventually nab the equaliser through Smeltz, who was left unmarked at an Alex Gersbach corner kick and headed precisely past Coe.

Khalfallah almost got the lead back in fortuitous circumstances when his goalbound cross was just turned over by a back-pedalling Janjetovic.

Barbarouses was the next to have a bite of the cherry, picking up a pass from a set-piece and shooting a deflected shot low into the outstretched arms of the ‘keeper.

The Kiwi was again in the thick of the action minutes later when Khalfallah launched Berisha on a counter-attack, who took too long to shoot in the box, with Barbarouses shooting wide on the rebound.

Smeltz then clinically launched the visitors into the lead, picking up a pass from Dimitrijevic, turning and shooting low past Coe.

There was controversy in the build up as Rhyan Grant seemed to have picked a ball that had gone out of play on the left wing.

Yet it would be Thompson again to rescue Victory, played through by Berisha in a tight space to curl a left-footed effort past the ‘keeper.

Seb Ryall had a chance to steal a victory for the visitors, rising to meet a corner kick and forcing Coe into a desperate save on the far post.

That wasn’t before Berisha had one last roll of the dice for Victory, running into the box deep into extra time before being denied by Janjetovic in a thrilling finale.

Melbourne Victory: 1. Nathan Coe (GK), 2. Jason Geria (4. Nick Ansell 69′), 5. Mark Milligan, 6. Leigh Broxham, 8. Besart Berisha, 9. Kosta Barbarouses, 10. Archie Thompson (22. Jesse Makarounas 81′), 14. Fahid Ben Khalfallah (11. Connor Pain 69′), 18. Dylan Murnane, 23. Adrian Leijer

Unused Subs: 20. Lawrence Thomas (GK), 16. Rashid Mahazi,

Yellow Cards: Barbarouses 62′, Broxham 74′

Red Cards: None

Sydney FC: 20. Vedran Janjetovic (GK), 2. Sebastian Ryall, 4, Pedj Bojic, 6. Nikola Petkovic, 8. Milos Dimitrijevic, 9. Shane Smeltz, 11. Bernie Ibini, 14. Alex Brosque (19. Nick Carle 90+2′), 16. Alex Gersbach (23. Rhyan Grant 57′), 17. Terry Antonis, 21. Marc Janko (18. Peter Triantis 81′)

Unused Subs: 1. Ivan Necevski (GK), 25. Aaron Calver

Yellow Cards: Petkovic 87′, Carle 90+3′

Red Cards: None

Crowd: 25,303

Pitch:  8/10
Referee: Peter Green 3/10
Match: 10/10 for the neutrals

3  Thompson (MVC)
2 Smeltz (SFC)
1 Dimitrijevic (SFC)