Melbourne Victory 5 – Sydney FC 0
Melbourne Victory 5 – Sydney FC 0
| Melbourne Victory 5 – Sydney FC 0
It all started so promisingly!
A glorious Spring afternoon in Melbourne welcomed the sight of hordes of fans streaming towards Olympic Park – many of them decked out in the navy blue of Melbourne Victory. Indeed, for all the talk of Olympic Park’s poor acoustics, there was a palpable pre-match atmosphere as a sell-out crowd took their places for this highly anticipated clash. The Sydney FC contingent may have been dwarfed by more than 18,000 Melbourne fans, but it was in full voice and fine spirit…at least until Richard Kitzbichler found the back of the net.
The former Austrian international has been in fine form of late, scoring on his last start against New Zealand and tormenting Sydney FC’s disjointed defence from the outset. Indeed, despite an early chance for Dwight Yorke, it was mostly one-way traffic as Archie Thompson constantly dropped deep into midfield to spray balls to the likes of the overlapping Sarkies and Ferrante. It was no surprise when in the thirty-seventh minute Thompson drew several Sydney defenders before laying the ball off to Kitzbichler, who turned and fired an unstoppable drive into Clint Bolton’s bottom right-hand corner.
Sydney’s respite came in the form of the half-time whistle, however Melbourne went straight back on the attack after the break. In the fifty-second minute the ubiquitous Thompson tumbled in the box under a soft challenge from Talay, and up stepped former Socceroo Kevin Muscat to send Bolton the wrong way from the spot. The penalty decision looked dubious, but one could argue that Thompson shouldn’t have been allowed to burst into the box unmarked to begin with. Unfortunately this was a lesson that Sydney’s outgunned defence failed to heed, as the lightening paced striker continued to torment the Light Blues for the rest of the afternoon.
The match was as good as done five minutes later when that man Thompson scored an amazing solo goal. Surrounded by no less than six Sydney FC players, Thompson twisted and turned – at one stage seeming to lose the ball under a challenge from Jacob Timpano, before regaining possession and turning to stab past an incredulous Clint Bolton. It will surely be a contender for goal-of-the-season, but from a Sydney FC perspective it was an absolute disaster. This was certainly the feeling amongst the forty or so Sydney FC fans amassed behind the southern end of the ground, and we had even less to cheer about when Ufuk Talay was given a straight red card for an elbow on Kitzbichler.
The rest of the match was entirely forgettable from a Sydney perspective. Muscat, the subject of taunts from the Sydney fans throughout, converted a second penalty after Thompson had already completed his brace, to make the final scoreline an embarrasing 5-0 to the home side. With little to cheer in the second half, it was nice to see a number of the Sydney players come over to acknowledge the Sydney fans that had made the long trip south. Clint Bolton’s disconsolate expression said it all – despite not being at fault for any of the goals, it was another five goals conceded by the agile Sydney shotstopper and clearly the team’s achilles heal is its disorganised and disjointed defence.
Some harsh lessons learned from an abysmal day at the office, and although I’m sure many of us believe we could solve Sydney FC’s on-field problems, I think I’ll leave that to Herr Littbarski and co. What I will say (apart from pointing out that we clearly need a leader at the back!) is kudos to those that shelled out a lot of money to travel down for the match. We didn’t have much to cheer but like anything, we need to take the good times with the bad and it was great to hear some vocal support until the end.
I’d also like to say kudos to those that didn’t make it down to the match, but who support Sydney FC nevertheless. Not everyone can afford to spend their time and savings on ninety minutes of indulgence, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t support the club. When I supported Borussia Dortmund I travelled to a few away matches – Schalke, Bochum, Bielefeld, Mönchengladbach, Leverkusen and Köln – but there’s an important common denominator when it comes to those games (if you don’t know what it is, then get out an atlas!). We shouldn’t forget the sheer distances that we need to travel to support our clubs in the A-League, and realise that not everyone has the time or the finances to do it on a regular basis.
That said, there’s no excuse for The Cove not to be out in full force and voice on Friday night against New Zealand. If we all get behind the team and show our support as one, then there’ll be no need for us to ever discuss the merits of individual supporters. We’re all in this together, so let’s prove it by making The Cove as loud as it’s ever been for the up-coming run of home fixtures.
And as for Melbourne, we’ll see you again on November 3rd…
MT Editor – There’s Only One FC