Victory Was Imperative For Their 10th Birthday Celebration
November 29, 2014
Almost a third of the Hyundai A-League season down and Victory are hovering at the top of table. They’ve been there about since the opening round and haven’t looked like falling. Kevin Muscat’s side has remained unbeaten despite injuries and international call ups stretching his squad. So with plenty of depth at the club how deep into the season will the Victory go? Pencilled in for the finals before a ball was kicked, the Victorians now look certain to be a part of the play offs. But can the Victory finish the regular season first and claim the Minor premiership, giving themselves the best possible chance at taking 2014/2015 Championship.
Brilliant Birthday Boost for Magnificent Melbourne
Foundation club Melbourne Victory celebrated its 10 anniversary evening in style with a win over highflying Adelaide on Friday night. More than 22,000 fans flocked to AAMI Park to celebrate a decade of History at the A –League’s most supported club. And spectators weren’t left disappointed as 2 undefeated teams put on an entertaining match, which included goals, niggle and plenty of passion.
Adelaide’s Nigel Boogaard gave Victory an early birthday present as the host’s hit the front in the seventh minute thanks to the defender’s own goal. But as Melbourne pushed for a second United hit them on the counter and Awer Mabil finished off a brilliant team goal. The Reds though were in a giving mood and their opponents were back in front after the visitors second own goal of the evening. Boogaard was again involved, this time his attempted clearance hit Sergio Cirio before the ball deflected into the net. The Victory were in charge and added authority on the scoreboard just after the half hour mark. Another Adelaide deflection, this time off a Victory cross fell kindly for Leigh Broxham. The smallest man on the field couldn’t miss with his head from 5 yards. But a pulsating first half still had more to come. United appeared to score from a free kick but the referee found a foul nobody else could and perhaps the decision was weighing on his mind when Adelaide were awarded a soft penalty in the final minutes of the half. Marcelo Carrusca converted and an electric opening 45 minutes ended 3-2.
It was a much tighter and scrappier affair after the break. Cards came out as things in the middle flared up but the referee refrained from showing red. There was a touching tribute to the late Phillip Hughes with the entire crowd giving 60 seconds round of applause in the 63rd minute, to represent the score the Australian cricketer was on when he was struck by a bouncer that tragically took his life.
Adelaide attempted numerous free kicks from dangerous areas but couldn’t hit the target, while the Victory’s best chance came on the counter. The home side should have wrapped up the win when they broke away late in the game, but Kosta Barbarouses tried to beat goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic instead of squaring the ball to an unmarked Besart Berisha. In the end it didn’t matter a second half shutout from the Victory gave them a well-earned 3 points and the best birthday gift of all.
Victorious Season So far
Unlike recent seasons Melbourne are marching early in this year’s competition. 5 wins and 3 draws have the side on 18 points from 8 games, the club’s best ever start to an A-League campaign. While second year coach Kevin Muscat has broken the record for the longest undefeated run by a Victory manager. Kiwi Kosta Barbarouses has also received accolades after being named the first A-League player of the month for this season. Meanwhile Besart Berisha’s move to Melbourne hasn’t halted his goal scoring; the Albanian Assassin has bagged 5 of the Victory’s 18 goals. At the other end Melbourne’s defence has been solid without being water tight, a goal per game isn’t too bad especially if you’re averaging more than that in attack.
The Victory face the Central Coast Mariners next for the first time this season. Melbourne may be the away side but they’ll be confident they can secure 3 more points. If so they’ll have completed a third of their campaign undefeated and will find themselves somewhere near the top of the table if not at the pinnacle. It’s been a solid start from a genuine Championship contender as they chase a third title in their 10th year.