Sunday, March 7, 2010

Melbourne Victory in A-League grand final

Melbourne Victory qualified for the A-League grand final this afternoon by drawing 2-2 away with minor premiers Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The result gave Melbourne a 4-3 win on aggregate over the two legs.

Sydney must now play Wellington Phoenix for the right to meet Melbourne in the grand final.

Phoenix had disposed of Newcastle Jets 3-1 in Wellington earlier this afternoon before a capacity crowd of 35,000.

Sydney almost took the lead against Melbourne after just two minutes following a corner from the right by Karol Kisel.

Alex Brosque headed the ball goalwards and Melbourne keeper Mitch Langerak turned it onto defender Tom Pondeljak standing on the goal-line and it then ricocheted against the crossbar and back into play.

The ball appeared to come off Pondeljak’s arms, but it was probably a case of Pondeljak being unable to avoid the ball rather than one of deliberate handball.

Having survived that early scare, Melbourne took the lead on the quarter-hour through a brilliant strike by Robbie Kruse.

Nick Ward passed the ball forward to Kruse, who controlled it and turned and floated a superb shot into the far top right-hand corner of the net from 25 metres with the Sydney defenders backing off Kruse and a flying Clint Bolton unable to reach the ball.

Sydney drew level from the penalty spot in the 34th minute. Adrian Leijer was adjudged to have brought down Alex Brosque and Kisel struck home the spot-kick to make it 1-1 at the interval.

Mark Bridge put Sydney in front in the 53rd minute after an attacking move down the right which ended with Bridge slipping past Grant Brebner and firing home.

With the aggregate score now 3-3, the match went into extra-time and several outstanding saves by Sydney keeper Clint Bolton seemed to make a penalty shoot-out almost certain.

But, Melbourne had other ideas and, when they were awarded a free-kick on the right in the 114th minute, Kevin Muscat took it quickly and fed substitute Archie Thompson, who nipped past the ragged Sydney defensive wall and beat Bolton with a quick strike to give Melbourne a 4-3 aggregate win.

The attendance was 23,818.

1 comment:

Chuq said...

It was a fantastic match Ive been told from people who aren't Fox Sports deprived as myself!

A comment - Sydney FC are "premiers" - nothing minor about it, that title secured them an Asian Champions League spot!

And a question - does this mean Sydney FC and Melb Victory are locked in as our 2011 ACL participants - is Wellington ineligible? Different sources have given conflicting reports.