Melbourne Victory has produced one of its greatest comebacks by coming from 2 down to score 3 times in the last 15 minutes to beat Sydney FC 3-2 at Allianz Stadium. Sydney were keen to get back on the pitch after their horrid 7-2 defeat at Gosford the weekend before, and looked the goods in the first half with Yairo Yau opening the scoring after a good bit of passing found Yau’s outstretched boot. Melbourne were reduced to long range efforts for the majority of the first half much to the frustration of myself. My frustration only grew when we conceded a 2nd goal when Pascal Boschaart scored his first goal in 378 senior games in probably the only one of those that I cared about. From there it appeared as though Sydney had put the cue in the rack, taking off a sore Del Piero on the hour mark and bringing on defenders. The Victory began to take advantage of this and had most of the territory as they peppered the Sydney defence with mainly hopeful balls and crosses which lacked any intent. Enter Andrew Nabbout. Petar Franjic was removed for the youngster 70 minutes in, and it was 8 minutes after his inclusion when he found space with the ball and curled it around Ivan Necevski and in off the post. This gave me hope as we again surged forward almost immediately after the kick-off and began testing the defence yet again. A Guilherme Finkler corner found the head of Mark Milligan, who pounded it down for Archie Thompson who stuck out a leg to deflect it into the net. It was at this point that I had moved off the couch and was now kneeling 2 metres from the TV in anticipation for, hopefully, another goal. Luckily I didn’t have to wait long. Nabbout delivered yet again when he headed home the winner in injury, sparking incredible scenes among the travelling contingent of Victory fans and the Riordan lounge room. The aftermath of the game prompted Ian Crook to apparently send CEO Tony Pignata a text at 1.38 am on Sunday morning telling him to organise a press-conference the next day so that he could announce his resignation. Sydney is now on the hunt for a new manager as former player Steve Corica looks set to take the temporary reigns before a manager is named. As for the Victory, well hasn’t their season completely turned around? Wins against Wellington and now Sydney have propelled them into 5th on the table and puts them in good shape ahead of their encounter with top of the table Central Coast this Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.
Melbourne Heart has sent Brisbane to the bottom of the table for the first time in their history after a 4-1 thrashing at AAMI Park on Friday. The ruthless performance didn’t come without controversy however as a perfectly legitimate pass by Mitch Nichols, duly converted by Henrique, was ruled to be out of play when he played the ball. The score at that point was 1-0, and the Roar was far from out of the game; however the second half would prove a totally different story. 3 goals from the 62nd to the 74th minute mark put the game to bed. Richard Garcia, Josip Tadi? and then David Williams got on the scoresheet before a consolation goal for Henrique was scored with 8 minutes left. Heart sit 6th on the table and face a difficult trip to Adelaide next Saturday evening.
Emile Heskey and Ryan Griffiths have again scored for Newcastle while Mark Birighitti has sustained his brilliant form by keeping out several Western Sydney shots. The Wanderers’ Joe Gibbs opened the scoring 14 minutes in when he finished a beautifully flowing move involving Shinji Ono for his first senior goal. However it was two far more experienced campaigners who had the Jets in front at the break with Heskey and Griffiths outsmarting the Wanderers defence for each of their goals. West Sydney now drops out of the 6 but can get back in there with a win away to Perth next Sunday.
The much anticipated top of the table clash between Adelaide and Perth could barely have been more disappointing with the Glory holding on for a 1-1 draw. Billy Mehmet, keeping Shane Smeltz out of the starting line-up after the kiwi star was ruled fit to play, again proved his worth when he put the visitors ahead just before half-time. However it was Dario Vidosic who again scored an important goal when he controlled a lovely Marcelo Carrusca pass and nailed the finish.
Meanwhile Wellington’s season has taken another hit; losing 1-0 at home to Central Coast. In what was a poor quality game, Danny McBreen’s 4th goal in 2 games was the decider with Tom Rogic justifying his selection in the national squad with a wonderful assist.