Victory come from behind twice to win in Sydney
Melbourne Victory have twice come from behind to defeat Sydney FC on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium.
Goals to Filip Holosko and Alex Brosque were cancelled out by Besart Berisha and Gui Finkler in the opening 45 minutes, before second-half strikes from Kosta Barbarouses and Berisha sealed a hard-fought 4-2 win.
Victory were forced into a series of changes before the game, with Jason Geria away on representative duty, Carl Valeri suspended, and Kosta Barbarouses carrying an injury which saw him only included on the substitutes bench. As a result, Thomas Deng and Dylan Murnane were included in Kevin Muscat’s starting side.
For Sydney, the biggest change was Brandon O’Neill’s omission from the starting XI, with the youngster replaced by the experienced Mickael Tavares.
Holosko got his side off to a dream start, after some poor defensive work from the Victory allowed Sydney to cross the ball from the by-line, past Danny Vukovic, and right onto the boot of Holosko, who made no mistake.
Minutes later, however, Victory would be back on level terms. Sydney sat off an onrushing Berisha in the 9th minute, and with time on his side, the Albanian’s strike — with the help of a deflection — looped over and away from Vedran Janjetovic into the back of the net.
It was a pulsating start, and Sydney would re-take the lead around 10 minutes later, with Alex Brosque finishing off another swift attacking move from the home side.
But, like in Sydney/Melbourne derbies of the past, the away side fought back hard. Gui Finkler, playing in the first-half in an unfamiliar wide role, waltzed into the penalty area and looked up to see Janjetovic a half-step off his line. Sensing the opportunity, the Brazilian chanced his arm (or foot) with a clinical shot at the near post, somehow finding its way into the
The game would remain at 2-2 up to half time. Victory made a half time change, with Barbarouses replacing Deng, forcing a re-shuffle with Broxham moving into defence, Finkler back into his more familiar midfield role, and Barbarouses out on the wing.
Despite Sydney hitting the post twice in the one attacking moment just after the hour mark, it would be Victory who would take their first lead of the game in the 68th minute. A mistimed shot at goal somehow fell to Barbarouses in an onside position and, taking a touch off his chest, the Kiwi shot underneath Janjetovic and into the far corner.
Sydney huffed and puffed to try and find a way back into the game, and up until the assistant signalled 6 minutes of additional time, it seemed likely that they would. Victory were on the back foot, and only attacking on the counter-attack as they sought to preserve their slender lead.
But, as he has done so many times before, it would be Berisha who would seal the game in injury time. Some tricky footwork on the edge of the box allowed the Albanian to get past Jacques Faty before firing home across Janjetovic to make it 4-2.
With this win, Victory now sit just 1 point behind Sydney with a game in hand, with the Melbourne side hosting the Mariners next week. Sydney, conversely, leave New South Wales for the first time this season, with a trip to Perth in their sights.
|Ultimate A-League ‘Player of the Season’ Votes|
|3||Besart Berisha (Melbourne Victory)|
|2||Matthieu Delpierre (Melbourne Victory)|
|1||Alex Gersbach (Sydney FC)|