Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Melbourne Victory 0-0 Wellington Phoenix: Dull draw at AAMI Park tonight

Photos (Top to Bottom): Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick said a draw was a fair result; Leigh Broxham battled in midfield for Melbourne; Roddy Vargas was a key central defender for Melbourne Victory; Adrian Liejer was the Melbourne captain in the absence of Kevin Muscat and made his 100th A-League appearance [PlessPix]

Fourth-placed Melbourne Victory drew 0-0 with fifth-ranked Wellington Phoenix before 11,513 fans at AAMI Park in Melbourne this evening.

The draw left both sides in the same ladder positions as before the match.

Wellington’s Nick Ward, a former Melbourne Victory player, was man of the match and received a warm reception on a chilly evening from the home fans.

Ward and Melbourne’s Adrian Leijer were both making their 100th A-League appearances.

Melbourne were without their injured captain, Kevin Muscat, so Leijer partnered Roddy Vargas in the centre of defence and it worked well.

The game was not a classic, with both sides giving the ball away in midfield and far too often failing to find their strikers in the final third of the pitch.

Ward had the first chance of the match when he fired a cross from the right against the outside of Michael Petkovic’s left-hand post.

Victory hit back in the 16th minute when Diogo Ferreira, making his first start, fired wide after a pass from Carlos Hernandez on the right.

A minute before the break, Wellington missed the chance of the match. Paul Ifill crossed from the left and Chris Greenacre missed the ball when it got stuck under his boot and the chance to sweep the ball home went begging. He somehow recovered his composure and, despite the close attentions of Vargas and Leijer, managed to toe the ball at goal, but Petkovic turned it wide for a corner.

In the 63rd minute, Hernandez ran onto a pass from substitute Mate Dugandzic but fired straight at Wellington keeper Daniel Vukovic from an angle on the right.

Wellington’s Tim Brown did well 6 minutes later to get in a shot from outside the box, but it curled wide of the right-hand post.

The save of the match came from Vukovic in the 70th minute. Billy Celeski slipped the ball down the inside-left channel to put Ricardinho in and he cut inside and managed to get in a shot which the keeper did well to palm wide for a corner.

Substitute Mirjan Pavlovic beat Vargas 6 minutes from the end but finished with a shot that drifted wide of the target.

The final chance of the match fell to Victory in the 89th minute as Hernandez fed substitute Geoff Kellaway through the middle, but Vukovic was off his line in a flash and blocked at the striker’s feet.

Diogo Ferreira and Matthew Foschini of Melbourne Victory were booked by referee Ben Williams, as were Wellington’s Ben Sigmund, Chris Greenacre and Paul Ifill.

Victory had 7 shots, two of which were on target, while Wellington managed a total of 9, five of which were on target.

Both sides committed 17 fouls, while Melbourne earned two corners and Wellington three.

Melbourne were off-side 6 times and Wellington saw the assistant referee’s flag raised 4 times for the same offence.

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