Category: Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory News

Oct 04

A-League 2017-18 season preview part three: the title contenders | Jonathan Howcroft

It’s the third and final instalment of our A-League season preview – AKA the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it edition. There’s no prizes for guessing which teams we reckon should be challenging for the championship and premiership during the 2017-18 campaign, with another Sydney FC vs Melbourne Victory ding-dong on the horizon.

Related: A-League 2017-18 season preview part two: the outside chances | Jonathan Howcroft

Related: Tony Popovic quits Western Sydney Wanderers on eve of A-League season

Related: A-League 2017-18 season preview part one: the teams bubbling under

Related: David Squires on … the governance crisis threatening Australian football

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/05/a-league-2017-18-season-preview-part-three-the-title-contenders

May 10

David Squires on … Melbourne Victory’s innovative grand final plan to stifle Sydney FC

Our resident cartoonist signs off for the season with a look back at an eventful and at times combustible A-League grand final

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/ng-interactive/2017/may/10/david-squires-on-melbourne-victorys-innovative-grand-final-plan-to-stifle-sydney-fc

May 10

George Calombaris charged with assault after A-League grand final incident

The MasterChef judge was on the field after the match and became embroiled in an argument with fans, which allegedly ended with him shoving one man MasterChef judge George Calombaris has been charged with assault after he allegedly shoved a young man a…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/may/10/george-calombaris-charged-assault-a-league-grand-final

May 07

Sydney FC breathe sigh of relief as season of domination is justly rewarded | Sam Perry

Following their grand final win, there can be no argument about the identity of the A-League’s best team, though there probably should not have been anyway

It is now incontestable. After an A-League grand final played at an unmatched intensity, Sydney FC emerged limping victors. In doing so, they applied the arguable but evidently necessary sheen to crown themselves undisputed champions, and can now safely enter the realms of A-League legend. After a bruising encounter that won’t be soon forgotten, the operative word in Sydney is surely, “phew”.

Related: Sydney FC crowned A-League champions after grand final shootout against Melbourne Victory

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/may/08/sydney-fc-breathe-sigh-of-relief-as-season-of-domination-is-justly-rewarded

May 07

A-League grand final: Sydney FC beat Melbourne Victory on penalties – as it happened

  • Ninkovic hits winning penalty in decider at Allianz Stadium
  • Berisha’s opener cancelled out by Grant

12.03pm BST

It wasn’t pretty – it was never going to be on that pitch – but Sydney’s victory was no less thrilling for it. Did they deserve to win? On the night, it’s difficult to make a case for either side as outright winners – it was that close. In terms of the season, though, there can be no doubt for football traditionalists that the right side won in the end – purely for the way they’ve dominated the campaign from start to finish. It’s a tough, tough defeat for Victory but they can have no shame in the way they played, and but for the lucky draw that is penalties, they might have been celebrating even as I type this.

Anyway that’s it from me for the night – and for the season as it happens. I’ll catch you again in a few months.

11.54am BST

The managers

Graham Arnold was understandably delighted with his side’s win. “It always seems to take me three years to do this – it was the same at the Mariners… We’ve got a fantastic group of boys and I’m so happy with them and proud of them… it’s not the best way to win, but it’s better than losing. I’ve been on the end of that. My heart goes out to Melbourne Victory.”

11.45am BST

Brosque back next year

And Alex Brosque has confirmed he’s staying for at least another year too after rumours of retirement. “I will (be back), it’s a great team. Most of the team are staying – if not all. I’ll be here again next year.”

11.42am BST

Ninkovic staying?

For the cherry on the cake, Milos Ninkovic has given a strong indication that he’ll be back with Sydney FC next season. “I like these guys too much and I would like to see this team in the Champions League next year, I can’t promise anything but probably I will stay,” he said.

11.31am BST

There’s more to come but check out the match report here.

Captain Brosque speaking to the crowd now – thanking the fans and the players. “I don’t think we got anything less than we deserved,” he says before turning to Arnie. “The way you get these boys to lift every single week. It’s been incredible.”

11.27am BST

Well they got their in the end – as did my laptop, which seemed to crack under the pressure of penalties. Hats off to Victory who defied the predictions to give Sydney a real scare – they got their tactics spot on for the night and there was nothing to choose between them on the night. On the balance of the season though, no one could deny Sydney were deserving winners.

Georgevski is named Joe Marston medal winner – much to the chagrin of the celebrating Sydney fans. He was outstanding though. Sydney going up for the presentation now.

11.10am BST

Ninkovic – who else! – fires it home! Sydney have won!

11.09am BST

Vukovic guesses correctly to deny Rojas! Ninkovic will have the chance to win it for Sydney.

11.08am BST

O’Neill puts Sydney back in front.

11.07am BST

Valeri misses. Sydney are back in it!

11.06am BST

Carney bangs it home – Sydney not letting it slip away.

11.05am BST

Victory make the most of that miss. They’ve got their noses in front.

11.05am BST

Wilkinson hits it wide – Victory have an opening.

11.04am BST

Troisi cool as you like into the roof of the net.

11.03am BST

Brosque sends the keeper the wrong way with a low strike into the bottom right

11.02am BST

The huddles are over, the players are ready. A chance now for the keepers to become heroes. Sydney to go first – Brosque the man stepping forward.

10.59am BST

We’ve got ourselves a good old-fashioned shootout folks. Expect to hear the phrases “it’s a lottery” and “a cruel way to lose” shortly.

10.57am BST

120 mins: Sydney win a free-kick and the danger passes. Not long until that final whistle.

10.56am BST

119 mins: I can’t see a goal coming now – it’s actually been a game of very few chances, despite both sides going for the win. Ingham breaks through but his final shot is blocked and goes for a corner. Last chance for a winner?

10.53am BST

116 mins: Victory have only made one substitution so far – which is as confusing (tactically speaking) as it is impressive (physically speaking).

10.52am BST

114 mins: Carney with a clear chance, but he skews it wide from just inside the box. Should have done better. Ryall comes on for Buijs, who picked up an injury a couple of minutes ago.

10.49am BST

111 mins: The fans are roaring the players on during a much-needed break in play. There’s still time for a twist – but penalties are looming large.

10.46am BST

109 mins: Some tired legs out there. And some tired hands in here. Shout out to all my blogging brothers – there’s a chorus of cracking knuckles at laptops from Sydney to Melbourne. Say what you like about the quality of the game, the level of focus and commitment has been outstanding. By rights they should all be out on their feet by now.

10.44am BST

107 mins: Oof! So, so close! Troisi cracks a first-time shot off the post and it bounces to safety. Where did that come from?

10.42am BST

106mins: I should’ve saved the “Long and Winding Road” reference from my preamble for now. This is all about endurance. Neither side is backing down.

10.39am BST

A Berisha header is well saved by Vukovic and that’s it for the half.

10.38am BST

105+3 mins: Sydney finishing the end of the 15 mins strongly, but they still can’t find a way through. Rojas goes down and Zullo goes in the book – thought it was a bit harsh myself (he won the ball) but I seem to be in a minority.

10.33am BST

103 mins: Starting to get the feeling that if there’s going to be a winner, it’ll come from a mistake. A fair few tired legs out there. O’Neill makes the latest poor pass – hitting it straight to Troisi. Victory fail to make the most of it though.

10.31am BST

101 mins: Wilkinson still struggling. Khalfallah comes on for Ingham – that’s the last Victory have seen of their veteran. Off to pastures new next season.

10.30am BST

99 mins: Georgevski with a Di Canio-esque volley that slices off his boot to safety – much to the delight of the Sydney fans. The danger doesn’t pass though, Victory get a free-kick that’s chipped deep into the box – for a moment it looks dangerous, but the linesman’s flag is raised. Wilkinson goes down under a challenge from Vukovic. That’s the second time the Sydney shotstopper has cleaned out his own man.

10.27am BST

97 mins: Berisha gets a free header in the box – but he doesn’t know much about it, the ball ricocheting off a teammate’s boot and hitting him in the face. Ingham is ready to come on for Victory, who haven’t made a substitution yet.

10.25am BST

95 mins: Victory being allowed to play it around in their own defence. Highly unusual for Sydney not to apply at least a little pressure. Victory win a free-kick deep in Sky Blue territory.

10.24am BST

93 mins: Strange to see Sydney not pressing as much as they usually do high up the pitch – tiredness or tactics? Carney almost breaks through but plays a poor ball towards Matt Simon that’s easily cut out. It looked like it might have hit a divot.

10.22am BST

91mins: Here we go again. Simon goes down under a challenge from Baro, who won the ball fair and square. It’ll be interesting to see the tactics for the next 30 minutes. Will Victory settle for penalties?

10.15am BST

Time to take a quick breather – and maybe a shower because that was a pretty dirty 45 minutes.

10.13am BST

90+2mins: Who do we fancy in extra time then? Considering they brag about their fitness so much, you’d have to pick the Sky Blues – but then everyone picked the Sky Blues before the game and there’s been nothing between them. Maybe Victory’s decision to take it down a gear and save some stamina in the second half wasn’t so daft after all.

10.09am BST

89 mins: Well both teams have thrown everything at each other – including the odd elbow – but it looks like we’re heading to extra time. Carney tries to skip clear down the right but he’s tackled well. Four minutes of added time.

10.08am BST

87 mins: It’s been trench warfare out there people, possibly because the pitch does actually resemble a trench in various parts. More elbow-on-face action, though admittedly it wasn’t intentional from Brosque.

10.05am BST

85 mins: Zullo goes down after being cracked in the back of the head by his own keeper. Sydney aren’t hanging around though, they race up the other end to put pressure on the Victory defence. A free-kick relieves the pressure.

10.03am BST

10.01am BST

82 mins: Here we go. Matt Simon is coming on for Bobo. I’m sure the cool, calm head of Simon will stop things from getting out of hand *clears throat loudly*

9.59am BST

79 mins: Excellent goalkeeping from Vukovic to shepherd out Troisi. Stood his ground well in a dangerous position. Neither side seems to keen on extra time. Zullo goes in hard on Rojas sparking a sideline confrontation. Graham Arnold isn’t happy.

9.57am BST

77 mins: Geria goes in the book for a challenge on Ninkovic. It’d be interesting to see how many of today’s bookings have involved Sydney’s star man.

9.56am BST

75 mins: Victory have to be careful now, Sydney have got their tails up and are looking to finish this off in the 90… no sooner have I typed that than Troisi is played in by Berisha, but he scoops the ball over the bar under pressure.

9.53am BST

9.52am BST

71 mins: It was only ever going to take one chance for Sydney – they’ve been so clinical all year. Victory need to clear their heads and get back into this, they need to find the same intensity they had in the first half. All the momentum with the hosts at the minute.

9.48am BST

68 mins: Grant pounces on a rebound to fire home the equaliser from close range! Excellent anticipation as several players stood and stared.

9.46am BST

66 mins: A cracking ball into the box from Zullo wins a corner. Wilkinson swings it in but Buijs heads it clear. Sydney starting to turn the screw but time is running out.

9.45am BST

64 mins: This is going to be a fascinating final 25 minutes. Sydney have handled everything thrown at them this season – but this is another level of pressure. Victory almost break through but Rojas is offside when he’s played through. Poor decision making from the Victory man, he had time to check his run.

9.42am BST

61 mins: Better from Sydney, Carney making an immediate impact during a bit of a goalmouth scramble but Victory get it away. Thirty minutes to go. Victory’s tactic of slowing the game down has worked well so far, conserving stamina as we reach end game. It’s still very risky to invite Sydney onto you though.

9.39am BST

59 mins: Holsoko comes off for Carney as Graham Arnold looks to shake things up.

9.37am BST

57 mins: It’s all smiles from the Victory fans who are savouring this scoreline. Almost an hour gone and Sydney have been frustrated so far. They haven’t really created much at all in terms of clear chances.

9.35am BST

55 mins: Troisi with a cheeky chip from just inside the Sydney half… but it sails straight to Vukovic.

9.34am BST

54 mins: Yellow card for Valeri for going through the back of Ninkovic. He can have no excuses… although the tough tackling has kept Sydney’s star man relatively quiet.

9.32am BST

50 mins: Risky move from Victory. If it’s a deliberate tactic to calm the game down – it’ll give Sydney heart and more time to probe forward. The Sky Blues almost seize on a Geria mistake but a deflection steers the ball away from the onrushing strikers. Holosko tries to curl one over the keeper but it was always rising. No problem for Thomas.

9.29am BST

48 mins: The intensity has definitely gone down a notch after that blood-and-guts opening 45 minutes. Not sure if that’s a deliberate move or just a result of a few tired legs.

9.26am BST

46mins: Victory get us under way. Not quite the push-and-shove of the start of the first half but still a bit of niggle. Bit of an arm-wrestle in the middle so far.

9.15am BST

“I’m in the slightly awkward position of not really being that fond of either manager and support the Roar but to see Berisha score has tipped my hand Victory’s way. The man is a phenomenon. I also predict a red card before an hour is up.”
Phil Withall via email

The way that half finished I wouldn’t be too surprised if there was a red at some stage – although the referee has handled the pressure well, keeping tempers on the right side of boiling point with a calm hand.

9.10am BST

There you go folks, an intense first 45 minutes comes to an end and Victory have their noses in front. Expect to see Sydney the second-half specialists throw everything at them in the next 45. Catch you in 15.

9.08am BST

45+2 mins: Looks like Victory are going into the sheds a goal to the good as the last few minutes descend into a midfield scrap.

9.06am BST

45 mins: Brillante in the book now for a late challenge on Khalfallah, who screams in agony… but jumps up again quick as you like when the FK is given. The ref has handled the pressure well so far.

9.05am BST

44 mins: Sydney finally starting to get on top as the half comes to an end – to be expected considering the intensity Victory started the game. Muscat’s team have been pressing all over the park and it’s worked a treat, but it takes a toll on the legs. They just need to see out these last few minutes.

9.03am BST

42 mins: Georgevski with a cool chest down to his keeper just when Sydney were looking dangerous. Calm as you like.

9.02am BST

40 mins: This is getting a bit tetchy now. An odd mix of questionable tackles and players falling over a little too easily are causing disquiet in the stands and on the pitch… but Gillett is keeping his whistle quiet. Not a bad job in the circumstances.

9.00am BST

38 mins: Now how is that little dust-up going to affect the game? Well it’s a case of “as you were” with Troisi charging into the box and winning a corner. Rojas’s cross into the box is poor though and goes straight to the keeper.

8.58am BST

36 mins: Hold on…. Holosko has gone in the book too. Must have been a VAR decision as he’s clearly shown wiping his hand in Troisi’s face. Ironically Broxham escapes scot free. VAR continues its creep into other facets of the game.

8.57am BST

35 mins: It’s boiling over! Shirt grabbing, yelling, handbags flying everywhere – all sparked by a poor challenge from Broxham. Referee Gillett takes a moment as the heat dies out of the situation. In the end Ninkovic goes in the book, as does Troisi.

8.55am BST

33 mins: A warning for Grant after a clumsy challenge. I think I’ve written that sentence in every Sydney match this season.

8.54am BST

31 mins: Victory still the better side as we go past the half-hour mark… although every time Sydney break they look dangerous. One slip and they’ll seize on it – they’ve had that sort of season.

8.52am BST

8.51am BST

27 mins: Well it’s not the start we were expecting but Victory’s ascendence has certainly made the match more intriguing. The ball almost falls for Rojas in the box but his touch has deserted him a little today. He looks lacking in confidence – not ideal for Victory as they seem to be picking him out regularly.

8.48am BST

8.47am BST

24 mins: Well it’s been a frantic few minutes and now Khalfallah has gone down off the ball … although the replays suggest he’s made a meal of some minor contact. Sydney FC still look calm though, as well they might – they’ve been in this position before and come out of it smiling.

8.45am BST

22 mins: Khalfalla goes in the book for an elbow on Grant while challenging for a high ball. The Victory fans don’t care, scarves are swinging and they’re in fine voice.

8.43am BST

21 mins: Berisha! He’s done it again – another grand final goal for the veteran striker, shrugging off two markers to create space then drilling it low past the keeper to open the scoring. Just when Sydney were starting to look dangerous.

8.41am BST

18 mins: More pressure from Sydney, Holosko aaaalmost lays it up for Bobo for a tap-in but Victory hastily smother the danger. Warning signs for Muscat’s men.

8.39am BST

16 mins: Good keeping from Thomas who comes charging out to stop Zullo getting a clear shot. Seconds later, a wicked cross from Zullo almost catches out the Victory defence, who scramble it behind for a corner. Better from Sydney.

8.33am BST

12 mins: First decent chance goes Victory’s way. Khalfallah with a killer ball to Rojas into the box – but he opts to pull it back rather than attempt to smash it home. They get a corner out of it but Sydney deal with it comfortably and the danger passes.

8.31am BST

9 mins: Poor ball into the box from Rojas just when it looked like Sydney were on the back foot. Khalfallah didn’t even bother trying to reclaim it, the ball was well overhit. They need to make the most of these spells of pressure, they don’t come around often against Sydney.

8.29am BST

7 mins: Some good shielding from Georgevski to snuff out Sydney’s first sniff of goal. Victory have started the game with a very high intensity, it’ll be interesting to see how Sydney respond. The Sky Blues have been there and done that all season though, nothing seems to affect them in terms of belief in their game plan.

8.27am BST

5 mins: Rojas seems to be the go-to man for Victory early on, a couple of deep balls already directed his way. Nothing Sydney can’t handle but it’s a promising start from the visitors nonetheless.

8.25am BST

3 mins: Safety first from Zullo who boots it into the stands after fluffling his initial clearance. Early pressure from Victory but there’s no space in that imperious Sydney defence and eventually the ball floats harmlessly to the keeper.

8.23am BST

1min: Peeeeep! And we’re off. And welcome to the match Georgevski, who gets a boot to the thigh from Brosque. Early fireworks. A prickly start from both sides as they look to grab the game early.

8.22am BST

Looks like there’s been a flare in the Sydney end but otherwise no real crowd trouble. I’m sure certain sections of the media will lap it up though. Sydney FC are going to kick us off. Let the games begin.

8.18am BST

As the strains of Advance Australia Fair die away, Allianz Stadium erupts in noise.

Not long to go now.

8.15am BST

Fireworks, smoke and roars around the ground as the players finally stop teasing us and jog out onto the pitch. Not long to go now… though admittedly I said that about 30 minutes ago.

8.14am BST

Anyone else hear the Jaws theme when you see Besart Berisha warming up? Can he score in yet another grand final? It’d take a brave man to bet against him.

8.06am BST

8.06am BST

The decibel level in Allianz Stadium has been raised to Spinal Tap levels. Not long now, the fans are getting twitchy. Still no sign of the players on the pitch yet … can’t be long though.

7.59am BST

A lot of the predictions for this clash have quite rightly centred around the battle between Johnny Warren Medallist Milos Ninkovic and Carl Valeri. After a decent enough first season, Milos 2.0 has been a revelation this campaign and if Victory can’t contain him today, it’s hard to see how they will compete. In Valeri, however, they have one of the few A-League players with the ability and experience to do just that. Just because he’s capable of doing it, however, doesn’t mean he will. In top form, Ninkovic is unplayable.

7.50am BST

Well the pitch might be “meh” but it’s perfect football weather – blue skies with just a tinge of cold in the air. The stadium is a sea of blue, filling up well in the build-up to kick-off. Not long to go now.

7.47am BST

Here’s one for the Victory fans seeing as the club’s sneaky attempt to get it played during the warm-ups was rumbled by the FFA this week.

7.44am BST

Strebre Delovski is back in the VAR hot-seat following the controversy surrounding Sydney’s win over Perth last week. I’m sure I’m not the only one hoping we don’t hear much from him today, in fact the man himself is probably hoping the same. Imagine if another video decision goes Sydney’s way. Things could get ugly. United Airlines ugly.

7.38am BST

Looks like a huge contingent of Victory fans have made the trip north. They’re in good voice. Fair play. There’s a big police presence too, no signs of any trouble though.

7.35am BST

Team line-ups
Sydney FC: Vukovic, Grant, Wilkinson, Buijs, Zullo, Holosko, Brillante, O’Neill, Brosque, Ninkovic, Bobo. Subs: Redmayne, Dimijrijevic, Carney, Simon, Ryall

Melbourne Victory: Thomas, Georgevski, Baro, Donachie, Geria, Broxham, Troisi, Valeri, Rojas, Berisha, Khalfallah. Subs: Acton, Ansell, Austin, Mahazi, Ingham

7.31am BST

7.29am BST

Pitching in
Like a good episode of Shark Tank, a lot of the discussion this week has centred on the dodgy pitch. As predicted, the Waratahs mauled, scrummed and got soundly beaten all over the Allianz Stadium turf last night to leave it in, ahem, less-than impressive nick. It looks awful. Not exactly a great look for the FFA, but not exactly an uncommon A-League issue either.

7.26am BST

Just realised the Long and Winding Road isn’t exactly the kind of tub-thumping, fist-pumping, stadium-rocking anthem to get you in the mood for a grand final. I’m trying to think of a song like Eye of the Tiger or Final Countdown but with more Guardianista class and … actually let’s just go with Eye of the Tiger. Now press play, close your eyes, and imagine Kevin Muscat jogging up the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

7.24am BST

Evening everyone, so we’re on the final approach, the chequered flag is in sight and the plus-size diva is preparing to sing. And if recent clashes between Victory and Sydney FC are any gauge, we should be in for a corker of a grand final today – the Big Blue writ large.

I would say it’s been a long and winding road to get to this year’s A-League decider but for Sydney it’s been more like a traffic-free run down the Western Motorway. One league defeat, 17 points clear at the top, and domination of this year’s team of the season awards tells the tale. Just like house prices, it feels like the Sydney bubble will never burst. If anything, the Sky Blues are just starting to peak – they’ve conceded just one goal in their last seven games, and scored 12 in their last five. Ominous stuff.

5.21am BST

Richard will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s how David Squires sees today’s big game:

Related: David Squires on … the A-League grand final between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/may/07/a-league-grand-final-sydney-fc-v-melbourne-victory-live

May 07

Sydney FC crowned A-League champions after grand final shootout against Melbourne Victory

For much of a combustible, often ugly, evening at Allianz Stadium, it seemed a record-breaking season, recent head-to-head form and home advantage would count for naught. But Sydney FC, the heavy pre-grand final favourites, proved a steel underpins their much-lauded style by overcoming an early punch to the guts delivered by Besart Berisha and going on to win a penalty shootout after 120 minutes of football ended 1-1.

Fittingly, Miloš Ninković, the Johnny Warren medal winner and star of this 2016-17 A-League season, converted the winning penalty, although the Serbian was largely contained on a night not suited to his artistry on the ball. The platform for Ninković to deliver the knockout blow had been set by another star of Sydney’s campaign, goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, who saved Marco Rojas’s spot kick.

Related: ‘The thing is, I’m never happy’: Graham Arnold continues pursuit of perfection

Related: Sydney FC breathe sigh of relief as season of domination is justly rewarded | Sam Perry

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/may/07/sydney-fc-crowned-a-league-champions-after-grand-final-shootout-against-melbourne-victory

May 04

A-League grand final: all you need to know about the 2016-17 season finale

On Sunday, the two best teams in the country over the course of the season meet in a winner-takes-all clash at Allianz StadiumCoach: Graham Arnold Related: Grand final pitch complaints sounds like Victory excuses, says Mark Rudan Related: David Squire…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/may/05/a-league-grand-final-all-you-need-to-know-about-the-2016-17-season-finale

May 04

Grand final pitch complaints sound like Victory excuses, says Mark Rudan

  • Former Sydney FC captain makes claim before Sunday’s title decider
  • Allianz Stadium surface has been heavily criticised in buildup to match

Melbourne Victory’s remarks about Allianz Stadium’s poor pitch could be a sign they’re already doling out excuses for an A-League grand-final loss, former Sydney FC captain Mark Rudan suggests.

The substandard surface has stolen most of the headlines ahead of Sunday’s showpiece.

Related: David Squires on … the A-League grand final between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/may/04/grand-final-pitch-complaints-sounds-like-victory-excuses-says-mark-rudan

May 03

David Squires on … the A-League grand final between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory

Our cartoonist looks ahead to the season finale and the state of the Allianz Stadium pitch, Graham Arnold’s mind games and FFA’s two-tone sausage sizzle

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/ng-interactive/2017/may/04/david-squires-on-the-a-league-grand-final-between-sydney-fc-and-melbourne-victory

May 01

FFA get dream A-League grand final as VAR technology plays its part | Sam Perry

Melbourne Victory proved they are the best-placed team to challenge Sydney FC on a weekend when video replays exacerbated symptoms of rage

If finals formats are meant to deliver the best two teams on grand final day, then the weekend’s semi-finals worked to perfection. However it bears thinking that, in essence, four sides duked it out last week for the right to be comfortably beaten by the A-League’s best sides this week. In other words, the semis have served to confirm what we just about already knew: Sydney are the best team in Australia, and Victory are the team most likely to knock them over in a one-off, winner-takes-all showdown.

Related: Besart Berisha heads Victory past Roar and into A-League grand final

Related: Sydney FC advance to A-League grand final after VAR controversy

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/may/01/ffa-get-a-league-dream-grand-final-as-var-technology-plays-its-part

Apr 30

Besart Berisha heads Victory past Roar and into A-League grand final

  • Melbourne Victory beat Brisbane Roar 1-0 at AAMI Park
  • Victory will meet Sydney FC in next weekend’s title decider

Melbourne Victory will play Sydney FC for the A-League championship after Besart Berisha sunk his former club Brisbane Roar in their semi-final on Sunday night. On a tense evening at AAMI Park, Berisha broke the deadlock for Kevin Muscat’s men with 20 minutes remaining, heading home Fahid Ben Khalfallah’s cross.

Victory were worthy winners after playing the role of aggressors for most of the game and eventually beat determined goalkeeper Jamie Young. Their progression to the showpiece match – to be played on Sunday 7 May at Allianz Stadium – means the top two finishers will compete in the grand final for the fifth straight year.

Related: Sydney FC advance to A-League grand final after VAR controversy

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/apr/30/besart-berisha-heads-victory-past-roar-and-into-a-league-grand-final

Apr 14

Berisha reaches goal-scoring century in Victory A-League win

  • Melbourne Victory 1-0 Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park
  • Besart Berisha scores his 100th A-League goal to break Victory drought

Besart Berisha has snapped Melbourne Victory’s six-hour goal drought with his landmark 100th A-League strike ending Central Coast’s season with a 1-0 loss. The Kosovo international ended a procession of near misses for Kevin Muscat’s side, stroking home Jai Ingham’s cutback in the 80th minute at AAMI Park after swinging and missing at James Troisi’s cross seconds earlier.

The three points earned are of little use to Victory, who had already locked up second spot – and a home semi-finalin week two of the finals. But the momentum that Berisha’s Good Friday goal brought could be crucial, given the alternative was entering the finals on a four-game winless and goalless streak.

Related: Premier League relegation fight: where clubs’ hopes lie and the impact if they fall

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/apr/14/berisha-reaches-goal-scoring-century-in-victory-a-league-win

Apr 08

World first as video assistant referee called into action in Wellington and Sydney FC stalemate

  • Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC draw 1-1 at Westpac Stadium
  • First time VAR used decisively in a competitive match
  • Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Victory draw 0-0 at ANZ Stadium

The video assistant referee was called into action for the first time in a domestic football competition during a 1-1 draw between Wellington and A-League leaders Sydney FC on Saturday.

Wellington snatched a share of the spoils late on through Michael McGlinchey’s injury-time header, cancelling out a 70th-minute Bôbo penalty awarded in ground-breaking fashion.

Related: Tim Cahill magic earns Melbourne City A-League win over Adelaide

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/apr/08/aleague-round-26-match-reports

Apr 02

Jamie Maclaren hits eight-minute hat-trick as Brisbane hammer Mariners

  • Brisbane Roar beat Central Coast Mariners 5-1 at Suncorp Stadium
  • Wellington Phoenix beat Melbourne Victory 3-0 at AAMI Park

A Jamie Maclaren hat-trick helped Brisbane Roar come from behind and thrash the Central Coast Mariners 5-1 in the A-League on Sunday night. Shunned by Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou for last month’s World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and the UAE, Maclaren continued his rich vein of form by scoring his three goals in a stunning eight-minute stretch.

Related: Sydney’s second-half blitz sinks City as Wanderers cruise past Jets

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/apr/02/phoenix-stay-in-hunt-for-a-league-finals-berth-with-upset-of-melbourne-victory

Mar 25

Roar’s wonder goal sinks Victory and hands Premiers Plate to Sydney FC

  • Brisbane Roar 1-0 Melbourne Victory
  • Central Coast Mariners 2-3 Adelaide United
  • Sky Blues now uncatchable at top of ladder

Brisbane sharpshooter Jamie Maclaren delivered a timely reminder of his quality to Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou with an A-League wonder-goal to sink Melbourne Victory and deliver the Premiers Plate to Sydney FC. Brisbane’s 1-0 win confirms the Sky Blues’ first silverware in seven years as the runaway leaders enter Sunday’s clash with Perth 11 points ahead of second-placed Victory with three rounds to play.

Related: A-League: Santalab sets club record as Wanderers beat Melbourne City

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/25/adelaide-leapfrog-mariners-in-battle-to-avoid-wooden-spoon

Mar 11

Victory tighten grip on second place with emphatic win over Glory

  • Melbourne Victory 4-1 Perth Glory
  • Result temporarily extends race for Premiers Plate

Melbourne Victory overwhelmed Perth Glory 4-1 in a high-quality encounter to cement their grip on second spot on the A-League ladder and temporarily extend the race for the Premiers Plate. Kevin Muscat’s men hadn’t beaten the Glory in their past eight A-League attempts but were thoroughly deserving winners at AAMI Park on Saturday night. The result means Sydney FC will have to wait another week at least before they are mathematically assured of top spot.

Related: Sydney close in on Premiers Plate with tight win over Mariners

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/11/victory-tighten-grip-on-second-place-with-emphatic-win-over-glory

Mar 03

A-League: Bobo strike seals Sydney FC victory in Big Blue

  • Sydney FC 1-0 Melbourne Victory at Allianz Stadium
  • Sky Blues likely to claim Premiers’ Plate after Bobo’s 60th minute winner

Sydney FC have effectively won their first piece of silverware in seven A-league seasons, dismantling Melbourne Victory 1-0 to all but claim the Premiers’ plate. Bobo buried his 11th goal of the campaign to seal Friday’s defining Big Blue, lifting the Sky Blues 11 points clear of second-placed Victory and rendering a comeback for Kevin Muscat’s men nigh on impossible.

Graham Arnold’s tearaway leaders need just four more points from the five remaining rounds to lift the trophy. It was the Brazilian striker’s name on the scoreboard 50 minutes in, but the goal really belonged to his whole team and was orchestrated by playmaker Milos Ninkovic.

Related: Sydney FC to unveil sea of rainbow flags in support of LGBTIQ community

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/03/a-league-bobo-strike-seals-sydney-fc-victory-in-big-blue

Feb 19

Besart Berisha strikes twice as Melbourne Victory sink Central Coast

  • Central Coast Mariners 0-3 Melbourne Victory
  • Berisha nets brace on 150th A-League appearance

Melbourne Victory halted Central Coast’s A-League revival to fire themselves within eight points of Sydney FC a day after the leaders suffered their first defeat of the season.

Golden boot leader Besart Berisha celebrated his 150th league appearance with a goal in each half on Sunday to sandwich James Troisi’s 58th-minute strike in Gosford, and stop the ninth-placed Mariners claiming a fourth consecutive win in their push for an unlikely play-off spot.

Related: FFA condemn homophobic Wanderers fans’ banner in Sydney derby

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/19/besart-berisha-strikes-twice-as-melbourne-victory-sink-central-coast

Feb 13

Melbourne Victory hopes hit by goalless stalemate at Newcastle Jets

  • Newcastle Jets 0-0 Melbourne Victory
  • Draw leaves Victory 11 points behind A-League leaders Sydney FC

The Hunter is again an unhappy hunting ground for Melbourne Victory, whose Premiers’ Plate ambitions have all but dissolved after a stalemate with Newcastle left them 11 points adrift of leaders Sydney FC.

The Jets reaped no reward from their dominant display at McDonald Jones Stadium on Monday night, but took a point to lift them back into the top six and in the hunt for a first finals berth in seven seasons.

Related: A-League is providing the thrills, but FFA’s inertia is cause for serious concern

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/13/melbourne-victory-hopes-hit-by-goalless-stalemate-at-newcastle-jets

Feb 08

Melbourne City’s Bouzanis gets five-game A-League ban for racial slur

  • Remorseful keeper suspended for five games after spiteful incident
  • Bouzanis says he did not understand the racial undertones of outburst

Remorseful Melbourne City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis has been told he should count himself fortunate he’ll only miss five A-League games for a racial slur against Melbourne Victory’s Albanian striker Besart Berisha.

Bouzanis was unable to persuade Football Federation Australia’s disciplinary and ethics committee to downgrade his charge of discriminatory language on the grounds he did not understand the racial undertones of his slur in Saturday night’s Melbourne derby, when he repeatedly called Berisha a “fucking Gypsy”.

Related: Dean Bouzanis to face FFA panel over Besart Berisha racial slur

Related: David Squires on … an incident-packed Melbourne derby

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/09/melbourne-citys-bouzanis-gets-five-game-a-league-ban-for-racial-slur