Sunday, October 17, 2010

Melbourne Victory 3-0 Sydney FC: Sydney go 10 games without a win

Melbourne Victory 3-0 Sydney FC


Sydney FC definitely are in crisis now after losing 3-0 to Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium last night.

The reigning champions have yet to win a game in 10 outings this season and must surely be out of the running for a place in the finals. They are most unlikely to be able to defend their title as they have a mere 4 points and are in last place.

Melbourne Victory are fifth on the ladder, 8 points adrift of leaders Adelaide United and with just 3 wins to their credit.

Victory coach Ernie Merrick used an adventurous 3-4-3 formation, with Kevin Muscat covering markers Adrian Leijer and Rodrigo Vargas.

It paid off against a Sydney outfit that tried to used width and get behind the Victory defence but failed miserably. Whenever they did get the ball out wide on the edge of the box, they invariably played it back to a supporting player to cross the ball. By that time, Melbourne had more players back in defence and dealt with the cross, if it ever came, easily.

Sydney’s wide players were simply incapable of taking defenders on down the line, beating their man, and crossing the ball into the box, which meant Victory’s defensive duties were made so much easier and the ploy of playing just three at the back worked like a charm.

Melbourne’s paucity of left-footed attacking players is a worry. That was evident as early as the 10th minute when Carlos Hernandez found room on the left of the box and powered a left-footed shot against the crossbar when he should really have scored. Had the chance fallen to him on the right of the box, and had he therefore been able to use his right foot, he would surely have hit the back of the net.

A minute later, Alex Brosque managed a rare shot from the left for Sydney, but Michael Petkovic saved at the near post.

Victory went ahead in the 20th minute after a free-kick from wide on the left. Hernadez floated a right-footed cross into the box and Vargas outjumped Sebastian Ryall and beat Liam Reddy with his header.

Sydney’s next chance did not come until 5 minutes before the break, but Petkovic was able to deal with Shannon Cole’s powerful drive from the midfield, diving full length to his left to turn the ball wide for a corner.

A magnificent pass by Hernandez in the 42nd minute put Ricardinho clear in the inside-left channel, but his shot lacked power and the ball rolled past the far right-hand post.

Three minutes after the resumption, Hernandez made it 2-0 for the home side with his first goal of the current campaign. Tom Pondeljak crossed from the left and Hernandez nodded the ball past an unprotected Reddy from close range.

Nicky Carle came on in place of captain Stuart Musialik in the 51st minute, but he was unable to help his side regain the lost ground.

Pondeljak should have killed off Sydney in the 56th minute after being set up perfectly by Kruse’s inviting pass from the left, but Reddy turned his shot wide for a corner.

Similarly, Vargas missed a glorious chance 8 minutes from the end when he won an uncontested header from a corner but directed the ball over the bar.

Sydney should have pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute from Cole’s corner, but Bruno Cazarine’s header was brilliantly saved by Petkovic.

With a minute remaining, Kruse was put away on the left by Pondeljak after a lightning Melbourne counter-attack and he raced into the box before firing low past Reddy, the ball going into the net off the inside of the far right-hand post to make it 3-0.


Melbourne Victory (3-4-3): Petkovic - Leijer, Muscat, Vargas - Dugandzic (Kellaway 65), Celeski (Angulo 88), Brebner, Pondeljak - Ricardinho (Broxham 69), Hernandez, Kruse [Substitute not used: Mattei]

Booked: Celeski 58

Goals: Vargas 20, Hernandez 48, Kruse 89

Sydney FC (4-3-3): Reddy - Cole, Kelleer, Ryall, Sung-Hwan (Foxe 78) - McFlynn, Musialik (Carle 51), Moriyasu - Brosque, Bridge, Cazarine [Substitute not used: Necevski]

Booked: Jamieson 90

Att: 17,299

Ref: B Williams


Anonymous said...

Another good game in the HAL. Then again I have a soft spot for Victory.

Walter you made an excellent point about the crossing of Sydney. With that extra touch, the Victory defence, superbly marshalled by Muscat, was in a compact defensive position. Sydney were often forced to shoot from range, which has a low percentage of scoring.


Anonymous said...

Walter, Victory supposedly always line up as a 3-4-3 on the pre-game formation on Fox Sports, but it often manifests as 3-4-1-2. Hernandez plays a bit behind the front two strikers.

Casual Observer