Category Archive: Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory News

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

Feb 08

David Squires on … an incident-packed Melbourne derby

Our cartoonist looks back at the feisty encounter at Etihad Stadium, where referee Chris Beath played a blinder.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/ng-interactive/2017/feb/08/david-squires-on-an-incident-packed-melbourne-derby

Feb 06

Dean Bouzanis to face FFA panel over Besart Berisha racial slur

  • Melbourne City goalkeeper facing five-week ban for ‘gypsy’ comment
  • Team-mate Tim Cahill given one-match ban for red card on sidelines

Dean Bouzanis has been referred straight to Football Federation Australia’s disciplinary and ethics committee for using a racial slur against Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha.

The A-League’s match review panel has determined the Melbourne City goalkeeper has a case to answer after cameras caught him twice calling Albanian Berisha a “fucking gypsy” late in Saturday night’s fiery derby at Etihad Stadium.

Related: Ignorance over Melbourne derby slur opens door to wider education | Francis Awaritefe

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/07/dean-bouzanis-to-face-ffa-panel-over-besart-berisha-racial-slur

Feb 05

Ignorance over Melbourne derby slur opens door to wider education | Francis Awaritefe

This is a big opportunity for FFA to harness the power of sport to promote non-discrimination, diversity and the principle of inclusivityLate in the highly charged atmosphere of the A-League Melbourne derby, Melbourne City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis clas…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/06/ignorance-over-melbourne-derby-slur-opens-door-to-wider-education

Feb 05

Dean Bouzanis apologises for Besart Berisha ‘gypsy’ slur in Melbourne derby

  • City goalkeeper admits remarks made out of ignorance
  • Pair had clashed all night during Melbourne derby

Melbourne City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis will undergo an education course after abusing Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha in Saturday night’s A-League derby.

The keeper has apologised to the Albanian for calling him a “fucking gypsy” in heated scenes at Etihad Stadium. The pair clashed all night, with Bouzanis saving Berisha’s penalty with the scores locked at 0-0.

Related: Victory seal controversial comeback win in Melbourne derby

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/05/dean-bouzanis-apologises-for-besart-berisha-gypsy-slur-in-melbourne-derby

Feb 04

Tim Cahill sent off before he is substituted on in Melbourne derby – video

Tim Cahill is sent off before he can be substituted on in Melbourne City’s 2-1 derby defeat to Melbourne Victory on Saturday. The footage shows Cahill at the sidelines protesting a decision to allow Melbourne Victory’s 87th minute goal, before being sent off by referee Chris Beath

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/video/2017/feb/04/tim-cahill-sent-off-before-he-is-substituted-on-in-melbourne-derby-video

Feb 04

Victory seal controversial comeback win in Melbourne derby

Besart Berisha propelled Melbourne Victory to an A-League derby comeback for the ages, coming from a goal behind to defeat Melbourne City 2-1 in the dying stages. Amid high drama on Saturday, Tim Cahill was sent off for dissent without making it onto the pitch as Victory jumped off the canvas with six minutes remaining.

City appeared to be heading for a win when Neil Kilkenny scored the first goal of his Australian career to put them ahead after 70 minutes. But Berisha – who had threatened to be the night’s villain after having a penalty saved brilliantly by Dean Bouzanis – put Victory on terms from Marco Rojas’ cut-back.

Related: Sydney FC undefeated from 18 A-League starts after Brisbane draw

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/05/melbourne-derby-victory-a-league-glory

Feb 04

Melbourne Victory 2-1 Melbourne City: A-League – as it happened

  • Berisha goes from villain to hero for Victory
  • Controversy surrounds late winner

11.03am GMT

It’s far too soon after all that late drama for me to give any sort of composed overview of what we just saw – but I’ll take a deep breath and do my best. Let’s forget about the first half (it shouldn’t be too hard) – but what a finish. I’m still not entirely sure what happened to Cahill, and I can certainly see why City will feel cheated of a point (even if it was probably the right decision in the end), but full credit to Victory for the way they fought to the end. How much will that change their season? Four defeats would have been shattering, but instead they’ve beaten their local rivals just when all seemed lost. With some easier games coming up, they could really build a head of steam heading into the finals.

But where now for City? It almost feels like they’ve written this season off, as though they’re waiting for a new manager to come in for next year and see what happens then. Certainly they’re a shadow of the team that won the FFA Cup just two months ago. They’ll still get through to the finals, and with the talent at their disposal they can trouble any team in the league, but a spark seems to be missing, and such a deflating defeat certainly won’t help reignite it.

10.51am GMT

And that’s it! Or is it just the start? City are not happy. The controversy of that last goal will run on and on and they’re venting their frustration at the officials. It should be interesting to hear Vakanis’ thoughts afterwards. But when it’s all said and done, Victory have taken the three points.

10.48am GMT

90+3 mins: City not done yet, although Victory have too many men in their own box for there to be any clear danger. Troisi races up the other end and wins a corner. Rojas and Troisi have been Victory’s best players tonight. To be honest, I’ve completely lost track of players getting booked here. There seems to be cards flying around left, right and centre. Fornaroli the latest.

10.46am GMT

90+2 mins: Berisha comes off for Mahazi. What a rollercoaster it’s been for him – from the depths of despair to last-ditch glory.

10.45am GMT

90 mins: Well my head’s spinning. Who could have seen all this drama coming after that dredge of a first half? Victory pushing for a third. Vakanis is not a happy man. I can see the argument for both teams to be fair.

10.42am GMT

88 mins: Now Cahill has been sent off! Good gawd what’s going off out there? What a finish to the game. Off Cahill jogs, presumably for something he said after all that controversy. He hadn’t even been subbed on yet. How have City thrown this one away?

10.41am GMT

87 mins: Moments after equalising, Victory think they’ve scored another – but the linesman has raised his flag! Controversy reigns, players yelling for all their worth but the goal is given – an own goal by Muscat. Amazing scenes! It looks like the lino raised his flag too early as the cross from Geria never reached Berisha (who was offside). Instead it was accidentally rolled into the net by Muscat’s slide at the near post. It’s a clear own goal, so technically there was no offside – but would Muscat have made the sliding tackle if Berisha hadn’t been lurking behind him, which would mean Berisha was interfering with play? I think it’s the right call in the end – but I would be fuming if I was Vakanis. This game has reached boiling point.

10.39am GMT

86 mins: Berisha sticks it away! Rojas the danger man with some great work on the left. He pulls it back for Berisha who sidefoots home from six yards. He’a a very, very relieved man.

10.37am GMT

10.35am GMT

83 mins: Troisi with a wicked free-kick that dips at the last minute… but not far enough, landing just on top of Bouzanis’ net. He’s been one of Victory’s better players.

10.34am GMT

81 mins: Muscat yelling for some reason after giving away a clear free-kick. Great work from Rojas. Victory plugging away.

10.34am GMT

79 mins: Victory need to show some more urgency if they don’t want to slip further off the pace on the ladder. They’re paying the price for not going for the win earlier in the match. Broxham comes off for Georgievski.

10.31am GMT

77 mins: While the first half dragged, this half has whizzed by. Only 15 minutes for Victory to try and claw something back here. It’s City in the ascendancy though. Brattan with a shot that has Thomas scrambling a little.

10.29am GMT

75 mins: Victory finally get a bit of possession. They’ve looked a little shellshocked for the last five minutes. City look a lot more confident on the ball now, while Victory are staring down the barrel of four straight defeats.

10.27am GMT

73 mins: Well we’ve got a game now. Berisha will be desperate to make up for that penalty miss too. City on top for now though, and they’ve earned a free-kick on the edge of the box, just left of centre. Fornaroli takes it, but it skims wide of the post.

10.24am GMT

70 mins: Kilkenny scores with a deflected effort! Brandan with the pullback for Kilkenny, he tries to place it but it takes a deflection that completely wrong-foots Thomas and bobbles into the net. A scrappy looking goal but they all count. It’s been coming too – I just wasn’t sure who for.

10.21am GMT

67 mins: A deflected shot from Kilkenny earns City a corner. They take it short, cross it for Fornaroli… and win another corner. Thomas palms it away, it falls to Brattan but he smashes it over. All action at either end. Momentum shifts every few minutes,

10.19am GMT

65 mins: Kamau comes on as City look to add some pace. The game has changed completely from the first half. City try to power through the Victory defence but they just manage to stand firm. Fun times people.

10.17am GMT

63 mins: Bouzanis guesses correctly to deny Berisha! Amazing stuff as the Albanian misses from the spot again. Fantastic dive from the shotstopper, not the greatest penalty in the world but not the worst either. Full credit to the keeper.

10.16am GMT

61 mins: Rojas brought down by Brattan in the box. Clear penalty. Victory with a big, big chance.

10.15am GMT

61 mins: Brattan crosses a free-kick into the box…except it isn’t a cross. It dips and swerves and just glances the top of the crossbar on its way out for a goal kick. Victory take a breath and make a change – Khalfallah comes off for Austin.

10.13am GMT

59 mins: Oooo, a couple of decent chances for City denied by the keeper. This is more like it, chances at either end. The crowd can sniff the change in the air, more of a crackle in the stands now.

10.11am GMT

58 mins: Some activity on the City bench. Cahill and Kamau both stretching. The game has definitely opened up but neither side seems composed enough to make the most of it.

10.09am GMT

56 mins: Broxham gets on the end of the corner, or rather gets under it, and the header sails harmlessly over the bar.

10.09am GMT

55 mins: Tongyik with a composed header to clear a potentially dangerous cross from Broxham. This is better viewing. Corner for Victory.

10.07am GMT

53 mins: Khalfallah with a shot from the edge of the area that goes straight to Bouzanis. It’s opening up a little though, a few genuine chances being created. More of the same please.

10.06am GMT

52 mins: Some nerves in the Victory box as a free-kick into the danger area eventually finds Tongyik on the right. He smashes it back into the area but a Victory foot clears the danger. A little bit more promising though.

10.04am GMT

50 mins: Geria goes in the book, some might say it was overdue, after yet another clumsy challenge on Brandan.

10.04am GMT

49 mins: Huzzahs! A first shot on target! A few ricochets around the City box and the ball falls kindly for Troisi – he hits it sweet enough but it’s straight down the throat of Bouzanis.

10.02am GMT

48 mins: Tongyik with his first touch. Didn’t look especially confident to be honest, a slightly lacklustre pass back to the keeper that he struggles a little with. Is that where a goal’s going to come from? A mistake?

9.59am GMT

46 mins: And we’re off again. A couple of early long balls don’t bode well for the trajectory of the game.

9.58am GMT

Tongyik comes on for Jakobsen who really looked like he was struggling. If he’s out for a while, that could be a big blow to City’s finals chances.

9.57am GMT

The top statistic tells you all you need to know. Either Vakanis or Muscat will have to take a risk if this game is going to improve in the second half.

9.44am GMT

That’s it, a nervous half comes to an end with the game all square. Both teams have been unconvincing where it counts, although they haven’t shied away from a challenge. Catch you in 15.

9.42am GMT

45 mins: Well the last five minutes have been the best of the game, shame the half is almost over. City waste a corner and that’s got to be close to half-time. City happy to pass it around as the clock ticks down.

9.40am GMT

44 mins: Berisha! Oh dear oh dear. The ball is whipped across the face of goal, the keeper can’t reach it and all Berisha had to do was get a touch. Somehow his leg seemed to move in slow motion though and the ball had flashed past him before he could bury it. Best chance so far.

9.39am GMT

43 mins: The yellow cards are racking up now. Muscat this time for throwing himself a little too forcefully into a tackle with Bozanic. Not quite the passion we were looking for.

9.37am GMT

42 mins: Now Malik goes into the book for a fairly obvious foul. Not sure why City are complaining. It was clear as day.

9.36am GMT

41 mins: Ansell goes into the book for a tough challenge on Brandan (again). It’s good to see Ansell back on the pitch again, if only because if he scores I can use the “Ansell, he’s so hot right now” footage from Zoolander.

9.35am GMT

38 mins: Oooo! Fornaroli latches on to a Kilkenny cross to nod home, but he’s fractionally offside and the linesman gets it right. Hopefully that sparks something.

9.34am GMT

37 mins: Nice work from Troisi to run the ball all the way from his own half and win a throw deep in City territory. He’s been one of the better players tonight, although it’s been slim pickings. This game really needs a goal to liven things up, but so far chances have been at a premium.

9.32am GMT

35 mins: Not for the first time, Muscat gives away a foul and Victory have a dangerous free-kick on the left edge of the box. Troisi chips it into the danger area but Bouzanis is equal to it, punching it away confidently.

9.30am GMT

9.29am GMT

33 mins: Victory probing away, but they fail to find a way through and Jaksobsen makes it back onto the pitch. He doesn’t look particularly healthy though, little bit of limping – never a good sign.

9.27am GMT

31 mins: Jakobsen seems to be struggling with a leg injury. He’s come off for some treatment but City will be praying he’s OK, he’s so crucial to their defence. The game continues without him, Victory looking to make the most of the numerical advantage. Risky time for City.

9.25am GMT

29 mins: City finally get a bit of space to play the ball around – unusual as Victory have been pressing them all over the pitch up until now. The ball eventually finds Brandan, who takes a touch on the edge of the box and curls a shot well over the bar. Better from City even if the final execution was poor.

9.23am GMT

26 mins: Geria and Brandan tussling again on the right (for Victory). That’s looked like City’s best route to goal so far, the Victory right-back seems under pressure every time his opponent gets a clean run at him.

9.22am GMT

23 mins: The last five minutes have been very scrappy, little thought going into some of the passing and runs. It’s screaming out for someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck to dictate things. No one’s putting their hand up though. A long ball over the top is just slightly overhit and Bouzanis smothers the danger on the edge of his area.

9.17am GMT

20 mins: So far this game has gone exactly as you’d expect from two talented teams struggling for confidence – just a few nerves letting down the final ball, and the defence’s look a little spooked as well, despite some good passages here or there. The first goal could prove even more important than usual.

9.14am GMT

18 mins: Excellent challenge from Franjic to deny Khalfallah, who was clean through. The City man just got enough on it to steer it away from his rival. Khalfallah arguably should have had a better first touch, but all credit to Franjic for tracking back so quickly.

9.11am GMT

16 mins: Brandan goes down under one such challenge (in the box too), taking a head to the side of his own that leaves him writhing for a few minutes. Referee doesn’t see it as illegal though.

9.10am GMT

14 mins: Some nice football from City in Victory’s final third but so far the home side have defended well… although Geria is riding his luck a little with some forceful challenges.

9.09am GMT

12 mins: Less haste more speed needed by both teams at the minute, someone just needs to put a foot on it and dictate play. Where’s Mooy when you need him? City win a free-kick about 40 yards out. It’s taken short and they’re forced all the way back into their own half – then bring it all the way back to win a throw close to the corner flag. Good work.

9.05am GMT

9 mins: City win the first corner of the match after a good run from Fornaroli. It’s curled into box, fools Broxham, but Brandan isn’t expecting it and it bounces off him to safety.

9.03am GMT

7 mins: Neither side really on top in the opening exchanges, although there seems to be a smidge more mongrel in the way Victory are playing. Oooo… Rojas runs onto a long ball from Bozanic, nicks it over the onrushing keeper but it lands on the top of the net. First real chance.

9.01am GMT

5 mins: Troisi whips in a free-kick… but like some bad mash potato it’s overwhipped, and sails to the other side of the pitch away from any danger. Fornaroli gets a nasty blow on the shin but manages to walk away. It’s bubbling away. All perfectly above board at the minute though. Bruno might disagree.

8.59am GMT

3 mins: Franjic on the receiving end of a crunching (but legal) tackle from Baro. That’s what we like to see at the start of a derby. Bit scrappy in the early stages.

8.57am GMT

1 min: Peeeeeeep! And we’re under way. Victory get us started, immediately losing possession with a deep punt into the City half that sails straight out. They get it back though and Berisha almost gets to a cross on the right but he’s fractionally offside.

8.53am GMT

‘Stand by Me’ blares out of the sound system as the teams take the field. The fans seem in fine voice anyway even if the numbers aren’t quite as high as usual. Not long to go now.

8.49am GMT

So it’s with a not-unexpected ‘auf wiedersehen’ that Victory fans this week waved goodbye to winger Max Beister, who has flown back to Germany on extended compassionate leave after just nine A-League appearances. It was such a promising start too, with a goal on debut.

I would like to thank Kevin Muscat and all the Melbourne Victory players and staff for allowing me the wonderful experience of playing in Australia at this club … Unfortunately, some things in life are bigger than football, and the best thing for me is to return to Germany.”

8.44am GMT

Speaking of Melbourne derbies, this is the second one this weekend. Kind of. For those interested, the Dandenong derby on Friday night finished up with Thunder running out 4-1 winners over City in the Jim Mimeti Cup. A hat-trick from the prolific Brandon Barnes did the damage. A few names from the night might ring bells with A-League fans – Kalmar, Colosimo, Vargas, Sarkies, Dugandzic… Some good footage of the goals here if you’re logged into Facebook.

8.42am GMT

8.40am GMT

Is four (potentially five) derby games too much in one season? There’s less excitement bubbling around this fixture IMO than previous instalments but I don’t think it’s quite reached the stage of calling it the Meh-bourne derby yet. Derby fatigue? Or just a result of the stuttering form of both teams? Possibly a mixture of both. You can bet the mood would be different if they were both challenging for top spot. Anyway, here’s some action from the last game, when Victory came from behind after Cahill’s opener (who else?).

8.38am GMT

So let’s leap straight to the line-ups because the big news is the golden forehead himself, Tim Cahill, is on the bench. That doesn’t mean we won’t see him at some stage, but it looks like reports earlier in the week of him struggling with soreness after coming off after 64 minutes against the Jets weren’t quite the mind games I suspected they might be. Of course, given his penchant for showmanship, Victory fans will be wary of a late goalscoring cameo. Even so, it’s a blow for City.

Team news
Melbourne Victory: Lawrence Thomas (GK), Jason Geria, Nick Ansell, Alan Baro, Leigh Broxham, Oliver Bozanic, James Troisi, Carl Valeri (c), Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Besart Berisha, Marco Rojas. Subs: Georgievski, Austin, Mahazi, Ingham, Acton
Melbourne City: Dean Bouzanis (GK), Manny Muscat, Ivan Franjic, Neil Kilkenny, Osama Malik, Michael Jakobsen, Nicolas Colazo, Fernando Brandan, Anthony Caceres, Bruno Fornaroli (c), Luke Brattan. Subs: Cahill, Tongyik, Retre, Kamau, Sorensen

8.29am GMT

Evening A-League fans, is anyone in Melbourne getting a sense of deja vu this week? Federer champion once more at Rod Laver, Springsteen playing for a second night at AAMI Park, and another clash between City and Victory on the cards – a fixture that comes back around so regularly there’s a picture of it under ‘boomerang’ in the Macquarie Dictionary. In fact it’s so regular I’m clearly scraping the barrel for interesting ways to start this preamble.

Tonight’s Melbourne derby, the fourth this season, comes less than two months since the previous match – but how times have changed. In the build up to that game, both teams were riding high and still had hopes of challenging Sydney FC for the Premiers Plate. Fast forward to tonight and both clubs’ ambitions have nosedived faster than a conversation between Turnbull and Trump. And with the A-League endgame in sight, this clash has become about much more than bragging rights for two teams stumbling towards a finals berth. Defeat for Victory would be their fourth on the trot and give both City and Roar genuine hopes of nicking that all-important second spot on the ladder. Defeat for City would not only effectively end their chances of reaching the top two, but also leave them looking just a little nervously over their shoulders at the prospect of slipping outside the top six altogether – something that would have been unthinkable in the aftermath of their FFA Cup triumph in December.

11.28pm GMT

Richard will be here shortly. In the meantime, check out the latest on FFA’s inability to have the Fifa deadline for governance reforms pushed back.

Related: Fifa reject FFA’s bid to delay reforms on Australian football governance

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/feb/04/melbourne-victory-v-melbourne-city-a-league-live

Jan 29

Sydney FC’s Big Blue win comes more out of habit than reflected dominance | Sam Perry

But as the game against Melbourne Victory proved, it is for that very reason the chasing pack should retain optimism as the A-League finals near

Shut the gate, put down the glasses, tick it off, the fat lady has sung: Sydney FC are the A-League’s best team and will soon have a Premiers’ Plate to show for it.

Not that you’ll hear that from Graham Arnold and his cadre, of course. They speak with a pragmatism that complements their on-field spine, but no mistakes need be made: this is a team for whom winning seems their natural state, and Saturday’s Big Blue proved it.

Related: Sydney FC take giant stride towards premiership with win over Victory

Related: Sydney FC beat Melbourne Victory in A-League – as it happened

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/30/sydney-fcs-big-blue-win-comes-more-out-of-habit-than-reflected-dominance

Jan 26

Sydney FC take giant stride towards premiership with win over Victory

  • Melbourne Victory 1-2 Sydney FC at Etihad Stadium
  • Sky Blues come from behind to go 11 points clear at top of A-League ladder

Sydney FC salvaged a Big Blue win, coming from behind to defeat 10-man Melbourne Victory for the second time this season and in doing so, all but clinched the A-League premiership.

A star turn from Bernie Ibini just five minutes after coming off the bench on Thursday night won the match for the Sky Blues, after Filip Holosko cancelled out James Troisi’s fine opener for Victory.

Related: Sydney FC beat Melbourne Victory in A-League – as it happened

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/26/sydney-fc-take-giant-stride-towards-premiership-with-win-over-victory

Jan 26

Sydney FC beat Melbourne Victory in A-League – as it happened

  • Melbourne Victory 1-2 Sydney FC at Etihad Stadium
  • Sydney move 11 points clear at top of A-League ladder

10.59am GMT

Another huge win for Sydney, who overcame enforced changes at the back to weather a strong period from the home team and hit back with a killer blow. Michael Zullo was man of the match, and there were just over 30,000 there, which is a bit disappointing by Victory standards. That’s it for now, thanks for following.

10.56am GMT

Just a last thought on Bernie Ibini. Victory fans won’t enjoy it, obviously, but for neutrals and Sydney it’s great to see him show something of his huge ability again after such a terrible injury lay-off. Not a perfect performance, but he did everything right for the goal.

10.51am GMT

Sydney’s run goes on, and they are 11 points clear at the top. They are romping away with the title at this stage, and even with 10 games to go it’s hard to see them falling apart. It wasn’t all that pretty, but a typically hard-fought big blue. Victory will be gutted to have let a lead slip, and may have a case about Donachie’s red card, but Sydney were tough and organised, and scored two excellent goals. They rarely look dominant, but they keep winning.

10.48am GMT

92 min: O’ Neill gets a yellow for time-wasting. Four added minutes. Matt Simon is doing what he does in the corner, and that will probably be enough.

10.46am GMT

89 min: Oo-er. Zullo tangles with Rojas, then Troisi comes in and takes Zullo out in fairly dramatic fashion. Zullo was sent flying, but more of a barge than a punch, or anything like it. Yellow for Troisi and Zullo, and Victory get the free kick. Zullo out for Sydney’s next game.

10.45am GMT

88 min: Simon breaks well on the right, but can’t set up Ninkovic, who has run his legs off tonight. He can’t retrieve the ball.

10.43am GMT

87 min: Last Victory sub, Mahazi for Geria.

10.42am GMT

86 min: Victory aren’t done yet. Even with 10 they are pressing and denying Sydney time-wasting possession. Just hard to see where the clear chance will come from.

10.39am GMT

82 min: Now Calver, who has gone down several times with cramp, has to go off, replaced by Dimitrijevic. This means a bit of reorganisation for Sydney, with Brillante going to right back. Calver has done OK after a shaky start.

10.37am GMT

81 min: Ibini so dangerous on the break! Until he gives it to Simon. His feeble shot goes well wide. Yet to score this season.

10.36am GMT

80 min: Rojas header on target from a Georgievski cross, but Vukovic is safely behind it. Fair effort.

10.35am GMT

79 min: And now the second traditional Arnold change, Matt Simon for Bobô, who goes off not looking too happy. He must be used to it by now.

10.34am GMT

77 min: Replay of the Donachie incident suggests it was pretty harsh. To me at least. By the time he fouled there was another Victory defender directly in front of Brosque, so no question of denying a clear chance.

10.31am GMT

73 min: Another Victory sub, Georgievski for Bozanic. Then Brosque picks up a yellow for bringing down Rojas.

10.30am GMT

73 min: Not sure about that red card. Brosque wasn’t really through on goal, and it wasn’t particularly dangerous. Not one where you think instantly he’s going off, that’s for sure. From a Sydney point of view, Brosque and Ibini could easily have worked a clear scoring opportunity. They were lucky to end up with such a bonus.

10.28am GMT

72 min: Buijs takes the free kick, straight into the wall. O’Neill might have been a better option.

10.27am GMT

71 min: Brosque and Ibini break, they more or less mess it up, but Donachie hacks down Brosque on the edge of the area, and Gillett pulls out the red!

10.26am GMT

70 min: What have Victory got left? A bout of sustained pressure here, but not clear chance. Sydney’s defence is holding solid.

10.23am GMT

67 min: Missed a Victory sub in all that excitement. Jai Ingham came on for Khalfallah just before the goal.

10.22am GMT

66 min: That was a superb finish from Ibini, he had so much to do, but used great body strength and control before beating Thomas.

10.21am GMT

64 min: The sub slots it after shaking off two defenders from a Brosque header, and Sydney have come from behind again!

10.20am GMT

62 min: Berisha puts the ball in the net, but Rojas was offside from Troisi’s neat pass. Well offside, but nice idea. Troisi and Ninkovic look like the game-breakers, if there is one.

10.17am GMT

61 min: Valeri gets a yellow for pulling Brosque’s shirt.

10.16am GMT

60 min: Sydney sub, Ibini for Holosko. The conventional Arnold move on the hour.

10.15am GMT

58 min: Excellent save Vukovic! Sydney are all over the place from the corner, and when it breaks to Troisi at close range the Sydney keeper stands up and makes an outstanding reflex save. Troisi couldn’t quite get the power he needed to make sure.

10.13am GMT

57 min: Contrary to my predictions, it is something like a free-flowing end-to-end spectacle. Holosko wastes a chance to break, and now Victory have another corner after a mistake from Buijs.

10.12am GMT

55 min: Dearie me. Sydney let a Troisi free kick drop in the box and only just smuggle it clear. Then Khalfallah’s chip flicks off the top of the bar! Vukovic may or may not have had that covered.

10.11am GMT

55 min: Berisha, back to goal, has a chance to spin, but tries to set up Khalfallah instead, and Brillante has a chance to intervene.

10.10am GMT

54 min: More good build-up from Sydney through Brillante ends with a decent cross from Calver that just about clears everyone.

10.08am GMT

52 min: … eventually comes to nothing after a bit of hacking around in the area. Now it’s Victory’s defence that looks a bit rattled.

10.07am GMT

51 min: Ninkovic and Brosque work hard on the right and Calver wins a corner for Sydney…

10.06am GMT

49 min: Quiet start to the half. Eventually Troisi lobs in a free kick, but it’s easy for Vukovic.

10.01am GMT

We’re off again. Archie Thompson is worried about Sydney’s stamina and second half strength. He should be.

10.01am GMT

I love the A-League in Spanish.

HT @gomvfc 1-1 @SydneyFC Tablas al descanso de un #BigBlue en el que el MVC dio mejor impresión y el Sydney ejerció de líder. pic.twitter.com/OOyXCRM5dD

9.59am GMT

I haven’t mentioned the state of the pitch. It’s not quite Suncorp awful, but the cricket pitch is giving some shocking bounces. Not good enough (again).

#BigBlue It is unbelievable that the FFA paid to reserve the right to play a final on such a dangerous poor ground. Waste of money.

9.57am GMT

9.54am GMT

9.53am GMT

9.50am GMT

Phil Withall emails with a dilemma. “Muscat or Arnie? It’s the old Trump or any other Republican situation all over again. How do you pick the lesser of two evils when both choices are dripping in negatives…” I couldn’t possibly comment, but I’m not sure who Trump is in this analogy.

9.47am GMT

Phew. Graham Arnold will be happy with the amount of battling in the second part of that half, after Victory had a 15min spell where they could easily have gone further ahead. No serious blues yet and only one card, but just as full-blooded in midfield as you would expect. Back soon!

9.44am GMT

45 min: Just one minute of added time. It’s been frantic.

9.41am GMT

40 min: Zullo… brings down Rojas, earning more abuse, then launches a long ball that almost looks like it will clear the onrushing Thomas, but he gets his head to, a good 15m out of his area.

9.39am GMT

39 min: That didn’t quite come out of nowhere, because Thomas had to make a good save immediately before, but Sydney will be hugely relieved because they had not looked very likely for much of the half.

9.38am GMT

37 min: The cross from Ninkovic, and a superb header from Holosko, Thomas no chance. Good response Sydney!

9.37am GMT

36 min: Now Thomas’s turn! Slightly scuffed effort from Bobô, but it was going in before Thomas stuck out a right hand.

9.35am GMT

35 min: Save, Vukovic! Rasping low drive from Troisi after Geria set him with a good run down the right. Berisha called offside for standing in the keeper’s eyeline, but it was a solid effort again (and a decent stop).

9.33am GMT

33 min: Khalfallah caught offside when he had so much room. Looking across the line! Unforgivable! Sydney exposed again down the left.

9.32am GMT

31 min: Buijs fires in a dangerous free kick and Geria has to head away almost from Thomas’s hands. Well, he didn’t have to, because Thomas probably would have collected it, but he did anyway.

9.30am GMT

30 min: Zullo now getting roasted by the home crowd, then cheered when his cross from the left is overhit. Not the player you would have picked as pantomime villain.

9.28am GMT

28 min: Geria gets a yellow for sliding through Zullo, which doesn’t improve the Sydney fullback’s mood.

9.27am GMT

26 min: Zullo slings off at a teammate (Brosque?) for not giving him a short option down the left. Early days, but the strain is showing a bit.

9.23am GMT

22 min: Rojas tries to lob Vukovic first time from a distance out on the right, but Vukovic is aware. Then he saves from much closer range from the same player! And has to punch the corner away, not 100% convincingly. Victory right on top here.

9.21am GMT

21 min: Rojas gets away down the right and Sydney are nervous as hell when the ball comes across. Eventually they bundle it away, but there’s some anxiety there.

9.19am GMT

20 min: That is the earliest goal Sydney have conceded this season.

9.19am GMT

18 min: That all came down the left again, with Calver caught out again by Khalfallah. Buijs didn’t cover quickly enough and Troisi was left in an alarming amount of space to guide it past Vukovic.

9.18am GMT

17 min: Troisi slots home from Victory’s first proper opening.

9.11am GMT

10 min: Sydney incidentally in an unusual all sky blue kit tonight. A little bit Coventry City, a little bit late 70s Man City. Which probably isn’t the effect they’re hoping for.

9.09am GMT

9 min: “You can’t let Sydney start clamping their jaws collectively on your possession play.” Thanks Harps.

9.08am GMT

8 min: Berisha tests out Buijs with a slight nudge after the ball has gone. The Dutchman does not endear himself to the crowd by going down theatrically with a couple of extra rolls.

9.07am GMT

7 min: Chance! From a long throw the ball gets to Holosko way too easily, but he scuffs it dreadfully.

9.06am GMT

5 min: Cross from the right for Victory is deflected almost into Berisha’s path, but he can’t connect properly. As expected, a cagey, combative start from both teams.

9.03am GMT

3 min: Ben Khalfallah takes on Calver, but his shot is awry. Still, they will surely look to get at Calver often.

9.02am GMT

2 min: Sydney free kick after a poor clearance from Thomas. But Buijs lobs it gently back to the Victory keeper.

8.59am GMT

A moment’s silence for the Bourke Street victims. The national anthem – Bozanic the only one to insist on the hand-on-heart thing. Broxham carries his very young child. Jarred Gillett is today’s ref. And it’s on!

8.46am GMT

Expectations through the roof.

Prediction: 0-0, 1 red card #bigblue

8.45am GMT

What kind of game can we expect? Graham Arnold has talked about how important it is to “win the battle”, to win the fight for the second ball and to “be prepared for the physical battle”. He went on to stress that the first 20 minutes of every game is a “fight”, and it’s about being “ready for the battle”. Also, did he mention that the key is “winning the battle”?

Given that a draw would satisfy Sydney much more than Victory, I think we can assume it’s unlikely to be a free-flowing end-to-end spectacle, unless and until Sydney go behind. Muscat reckons if Victory “put every brick in place” they will win. “Our best is good enough to beat them. We know that and they know it also.” Mind games – he’s the master.

8.40am GMT

Sydney’s unbeaten run from the start of the season now stretches to 16 games, and their lead at the top of the table is out to eight points after Victory’s defeats in Wellington and Perth, so this represents perhaps the last realistic opportunity for Kevin Muscat’s side to start reeling them in.

Form favours Victory in this fixture, having lost only one of the past 10 against Sydney, and that in controversial circumstances after David Carney definitely appeared to knock on before slotting the equaliser in November’s 2-1 win. This time last year a Matt Jurman own goal was enough to give Victory the win, and of course they also won a comfortable grand final against Sydney in very recent memory. Sydney will look back more fondly on 26 January 2014, when they came away with a stunning 5-0 win (Andy Harper: “It’s a hot knife through butter – No! It’s Sebastian Ryall!”).

8.30am GMT

Four changes for Victory, with Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Jason Geria, Oliver Bozanic and Marco Rojas returning. Leigh Broxham sets a club record, making his 225th appearance tonight. Mahazi, Ingham, Austin and Georgievski drop out, with George Howard on the bench and no place for Max Beister.

Here’s our line-up for #MVCvSYD at @EtihadStadiumAU tonight 7.50pm AEDT. We’ve made 4 changes to our starting XI. COYBIB! pic.twitter.com/MvVR1rR2pY

TEAM NEWS | Here’s how the undefeated @SydneyFC line up tonight against @gomvfc #SydneyIsSkyBlue #BigBlue pic.twitter.com/DHaSQnjdU0

8.25am GMT

Hi, thanks for joining us – hope you’ve been marking the day in whatever way you feel appropriate. It’s a huge sporting night in Melbourne, with Federer v Wawrinka in the Australian Open semi, but we’re here for the huge clash between Victory and Sydney, which has been a solid A-League tradition on 26 January for as long as … well, there was definitely one last year.

Feel free to offer constructive criticism through the usual channels.

12.56am GMT

Mike will be here shortly. In the meantime, in case you missed it earlier today, have a look at David Squires’ cartoon about tonight’s match, featuring Graham Arnold as Nick Cave, a neo-Nazi getting biffed and an alternative A-League truth.

Related: David Squires on … 26 January and the Big Blue

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/jan/26/melbourne-victory-v-sydney-fc-a-league-live

Jan 25

David Squires on … January 26 and the Big Blue

Our resident cartoonist turns his attention to the Melbourne Victory-Sydney FC clash, the latter’s struggle for recognition and alternative A-League facts. You can find David’s archive of Australian sport cartoons here and he also has a book out

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/picture/2017/jan/26/david-squires-on-january-26-and-the-big-blue

Jan 21

A-League: Glory beat Victory in Perth thriller and Brisbane Roar win in Wellington

  • Perth Glory 2-1 Melbourne Victory
  • Brisbane end five-week winless run with 1-0 win over Phoenix

Melbourne Victory have slumped to their second straight defeat, with Perth coming from behind to secure a 2-1 win in Saturday night’s A-League clash at nib Stadium.

Victory striker Besart Berisha made up for his first-half penalty miss with a successful spot kick in the 58th minute. But Glory stormed back into the contest, with Nebojsa Marinkovic nailing a 21m free kick in the 71st minute, before Adam Taggart scored the winner with an 84th-minute tap-in.

Related: Sydney FC extend their A-League lead to eight points in Adelaide win

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/21/a-league-late-maclaren-goal-sees-brisbane-roar-win-in-wellington-melbourne-victory-perth-glory

Jan 17

Wellington Phoenix up to fifth in A-League after stunning Victory

  • Wellington Phoenix 3-0 Melbourne Victory
  • Phoenix climb into top six for first time this season

It was business as usual for Wellington Phoenix co-coach Des Buckingham after Tuesday night’s 3-0 A-League upset of Melbourne Victory at Westpac Stadium.

The Phoenix’s fifth win of the season was set up by Roly Bonevacia’s 33rd-minute strike, and capped off by late goals from Jacob Tratt and Kosta Barbarouses.

Related: Australia moves closer to Asia with A-League to adopt import quota rule

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/18/wellington-phoenix-up-to-fifth-in-a-league-after-stunning-victory

Jan 15

Besart Berisha has red card rescinded, free to play against Wellington

  • Victory striker controversially sent off during win over Brisbane Roar
  • ‘I haven’t come across anyone who said it was a red card,’ says Kevin Muscat

Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha is free to play against Wellington on Tuesday after his controversial A-League red card against Brisbane was rescinded.

Berisha was issued a straight red 59 minutes into Friday night’s five-goal thriller for a perceived arm to the face of Roar defender Luke DeVere.

Related: Melbourne Victory hang on against Brisbane Roar in A-League classic

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/15/besart-berisha-has-red-card-rescinded-free-to-play-against-wellington

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