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Honours even in Sydney-Melbourne clash

MELvSYDJames Troisi’s 11th goal of the season cancelled out Joel Chianese’s 47th-minute opener as the Big Blue finished 1-1 at AAMI Park.

Pablo Contreras returned to Melbourne’s first XI after a suspension to Leigh Broxham, while Adama Traore and Archie Thompson replaced Jason Geria and the rested Tom Rogic.

Meanwhile, Sydney made two changes to the side that was beaten 3-1 by Adelaide last week, with Matt Thompson and Joel Chianese brought in for Hagi Gligor and Alec Urosevski.

The hosts started brightly as they showed urgency in closing the Sydney defence down and Barbarouses had the ball in the back of the net in the ninth minute, but the winger was rightly called offside.

Del Piero had a shot in the 14th minute which was easy for Lawrence Thomas to save, yet Melbourne still looked dominant as Troisi put an effort wide, a ricochet off Archie Thompson flew over the crossbar, and a Finkler strike deflected off Ognenovski and went the wrong side of the far post.

However, the Sky Blues began to take control and Victory were carved open on 22 minutes as Matt Thompson chipped the ball toward the back post. An unmarked Richard Garcia, however, could not provide the finish.

Two free-kicks from Del Piero went close before the break, before Garcia headed harmlessly wide from a corner, and the visitors began to put Melbourne on the back foot.

Match Details Full match details »

Date/Time Sat Mar 29, 2014, 7:45 PMStadium AAMI ParkAttendance 20,447Referee Jarred Gillett

Melb. Victory

Yellow Card45′ P.ContrerasYellow Card55′ J.JeggoGoal64′ J.Troisi

Yet Victory were still a threat on the break and Barbarouses had a decent chance to score when he turned Ognenovski inside-out, but he could only drag his left-foot shot wide. Jurman volleyed high and wide in the 33rd minute, before Traore put the Sydney defence under pressure as the half began to close out.

But on the stroke of half time, Contreras and Galloway failed to deal with a through ball and conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area, with the Chilean possibly fortunate not to be sent off for upending Chianese. Jarred Gillett had another decision to make when Del Piero’s resulting free kick struck the hand of Galloway inside the area, but the referee waved away the visitors’ claims for a penalty.

Nevertheless, Frank Farina’s men had their goal three minutes after the break, when Abbas fired a low drive that Thomas could only parry, allowing Chianese a simple finish to make it 1-0.

Victory responded positively and Milligan tested Janjetovic before Barbarouses produced a smart pass to Contreras, who saw his shot blocked by Jurman.

Leijer’s goal-bound header was cleared off the line by Petkovic shortly after, as Melbourne continued to lift their intensity.

They eventually found a deserved equaliser in the 63rd minute, with Finkler’s through ball allowing Troisi to poke it past the Sydney ‘keeper with the outside of his boot.

Victory continued to attack and both Jeggo and Traore tested Janjetovic, before Finkler failed to play in either Thompson or Barbarouses when he was gifted the ball in a dangerous position.

Despite Melbourne’s dominance, Sydney had a gilt-edged chance to score in the 78th minute when Del Piero’s attempted scissor kick volley flew across goal to Chianese, but the forward was unable to direct the ball on target.

Injury time saw both sides searching for a winner, and Finkler had the last half-chance of the match when his shot from range floated weakly into the gloves of Janjetovic.

Alas, it wasn’t to be for either team, and the game finished in a 1-1 deadlock.

About the author

avatarJulian is a freelance writer and editor, film festival programmer, and serial podcaster.

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