Photos (Top to Bottom): Surat Sukha put Adelaide's Mathew Leckie out of the game with a tackle; Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick with a happy fan; Adelaide badly missed their injured captain Travis Dodd; Melbourne's Roddy Vargas fought hard in defence for the home side; Simon Hill was one of the match commentators on Fox Sports [PlessPix]
Melbourne Victory 2-1 Adelaide United
Melbourne Victory ended Adelaide United’s unbeaten run of 12 matches in the A-League when they beat their fierce rivals 2-1 before 16,269 fans at Etihad Stadium tonight.
As well as ending Adelaide’s A-League record, Melbourne set one of their own. This was their 10th consecutive victory over Adelaide United, a team in the same league. Melbourne have not been beaten by Adelaide since December 2007. And, Adelaide’s last victory at Etihad Stadium was in 2006.
Melbourne captain Kevin Muscat might wear red boots, but he’s certainly not ‘Goody Goody Two Shoes’. It was his blatant foul on Mathew Leckie less than a minute into the match that led to Adelaide’s goal. His blatant body-check on the Adelaide speedster should have earned him a yellow card, but Mr Williams kept the card in his pocket.
But, justice was done when Paul Reid floated his free-kick over from wide on the left and Iain Fyfe outjumped Surat Sukha and nodded the ball past Michael Petkovic and into the net.
Melbourne’s first chance fell to Robbie Kruse in the 13th minute, but his curling shot was turned wide for a corner by the diving Eugene Galekovic.
Adelaide went close in the 18th minute when Adam Hughes headed wide from a corner.
Muscat had body-checked Leckie just before that, and again he escaped unscathed. Ironically, the Melbourne captain finally did receive a yellow card in the 33rd minute, but it was for dissent.
Adelaide suffered a huge blow when a reckless challenge by Sukha put Leckie out of the game in the 21st minute. Sukha got nowhere near the ball but hacked Leckie down and the Adelaide player damaged his left knee. That knee was already strapped and had caused Leckie to miss last week’s game. He was taken to hospital for an examination and I just hope this does not affect Leckie’s chances of moving to the Bundesliga next year.
Melbourne drew level in the 22nd minute when Kruse cut in from the left and beat Galekovic at his near post with a low drive from 25 metres.
Melbourne squandered a good chance in the 35th minute when Adrian Leijer fed Sukha down the inside-left channel. But, instead of shooting, the Thailand international chose to square the ball to Ricardinho, who was too slow and had the ball taken off his foot by a defender before he could shoot.
In the 38th minute, Tom Pondeljak’s tame shot from a good opening was easily dealt with by Galekovic.
Seconds later, Petkovic produced a great tip over the bar from Fabian Barbieri’s angled shot from the right. He had been put clear when Marcos Flores showed superb control in bringing down Roddy Vargas’s poor clearing header.
Mate Dugandzic replaced Ricardinho at the interval after the Brazilian injured his knee.
Kruse should have done better than shoot wide in the 59th minute after a good pass from Hernandez.
Melbourne took the lead in the 68th minute after an excellent move out of defence. Pondeljak gained possession and broke free on the right before squaring the ball across the penalty area for Hernandez to stroke home from the edge of the box.
It was all Melbourne in the second half and they should have increased their lead several times.
In the 83rd minute, Kruse’s cut-back from the left found the unmarked Hernandez, who prodded his shot wide.
Seconds later, Pondeljak went on a devastating run through the Adelaide defence but finished with a weak shot.
Pondeljak’s brilliant run in the 86th minute, during which he beat several defenders, deserved a goal, but the ball came back into play off the far left-hand post with Galekovic well beaten. The ball came back to Pondeljak, but his second shot was tame and directed straight at a grateful Adelaide keeper.
Adelaide were not down and out, however, and Petkovic produced a marvellous save when he turned substitute Inseob Shin’s fierce shot against his left-hand post.
The game had 5 minutes of stoppage time, but Adelaide were unable to salvage a point and save their record.
It was the home side who, instead, set a new Australian record of their own.
Melbourne Victory (3-4-3): Petkovic - Leijer, Muscat, Vargas - Pondeljak, Celeski, Brebner, Sukha (Broxham 69) - Ricardinho (Dugandzic 46), Hernandez, Kruse (Angulo 84) [Substitute not used: Mattei]
Booked: Muscat 33, Broxham 84
Goals: Kruse 22, Hernandez 68
Adelaide United (4-2-3-1): Galekovic - Watson (Shin 79), Fyfe, Cornthwaite, Cassio - Reid, Hughes - Leckie [(Barbieri 21) Ramsay 55], Flores, Pantelis - Van Dijk [Substitute not used: Birighitti]
Booked: Barbieri 36, Reid 75, Hughes 91, Pantelis 93
Goals: Fyfe 2
Ref: B Williams