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Honours even in classic cross-border encounter

Yet another classic encounter between two of the league’s biggest rivalries saw honours even between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.

A win would’ve seen either side top the table, but it was not to be as a late goal from Archie Thompson cancelled out Dylan McGowan’s effort minutes earlier, while goals came in the first half from Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Pablo Sanchez.

Craig Goodwin could consider himself hard done by to be dropped to the bench despite his fortuitous winner against Central Coast Mariners last week. Pablo Sanchez replaced the winger and was the only change from Josep Gombau’s reds.

Similarly, Kevin Muscat only made one change from the side that took three points on the road in an emphatic 3-0 win against Western Sydney Wanderers. Young fullback Jason Geria returned from injury to replace Scott Galloway.

Despite the Victory defence taking a hammering from a vibrant Adelaide front three in the opening minutes, Fahid Ben Kalfallah opened the scoring for Melbourne in the visitors’ first attack.

After Daniel Georgievski intercepted Eugene Galekovic’s clearance, Victory surged up the left flank before Gui Finkler played Ben Kalfallah through to the edge of the box and the Tunisian fired a lethal effort inside the near post.

Adelaide could consider itself unlucky not to equalise shortly after, as Jimmy Jeggo’s world class strike forced a world class save from Nathan Coe. The former Melbourne midfielder tested the shot-stopper from long range with a curling effort that seemed destined for the top corner, but Coe was equal to the effort and pushed it wide for a corner.

With the break approaching, Pablo Sanchez equalised for the hosts, care of a quick throw in from Marcelo Carrusca. The Argentine caught the Victory back four unaware as a throw to Sergio Cirio allowed the Spaniard space to knock the ball to the back post for Sanchez to rise high and nod the ball in virtually unmarked.

Sanchez’s goal proved to be the last meaningful play in what was one of the more intense 45 minutes this season.

Adelaide huffed and puffed throughout the second half and with 15 minutes left, Dylan McGowan blew the house down as the hosts hit the lead at long last. A remarkable reflex save from Coe amounted to little as Valeri cleared the ball away to Jeggo who knocked the ball straight back in to McGowan, whose header rippled the back of the net.

Coe was livid with the linesman, however, as he believed Jeggo was offside before crossing the ball in from the by-line. Replays indicated that the referee and the assistant made the correct call.

There was still more drama to play out, though, and Melbourne replied through the likeliest of suspects. Archie Thompson was on hand to punish Adelaide as he so often has, linking up with Finkler, before knocking the ball around Galekovic and coolly slotting in the equaliser from a narrow angle.

The game had now well and truly kicked into overdrive and, once more, Coe was on hand with a pair of reflex saves late in the game to save a point for the visitors, leaving the hosts scratching their heads as to how they hadn’t put this game to bed for all their dominance.

Wellington Phoenix remain on top of the A-League table at the end of the night, with neither side able to take the three points in a game that is sure to go down in history, and will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the remainder of the season.


Ultimate A-League ‘Player of the Year’ Votes
3 Marcelo Carrusca (Adelaide United)
2 Matthieu Delpierre (Melbourne Victory)
1 Nathan Coe (Melbourne Victory)
Youth Nick Ansell (Melbourne Victory)

About the author

avatarBorn and raised in Melbourne, Bill is a student journalist at Monash University and life-time fan of the round ball game.

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