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Victory held by stubborn Jets

Melbourne Victory have been held to a 1-1 draw at home by a ten-man Newcastle Jets outfit on Sunday, with a first-half goal to Ryan Kitto canceled out by Besart Berisha’s 57th minute strike.

Victory were reeling after a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Brisbane last weekend, but somewhat made up for it with a point at home against Suwon Bluewings in the Champions League.

In reaction to the big loss in Queensland, Kevin Muscat made three changes to his side, with Leigh Broxham, Kosta Barbarouses and goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas replacing Mahazi, Ben Khalfallah and Vukovic.

The visitors narrowly lost to the Wanderers 1-0 last Sunday at Hunter Stadium, and manager Scott Miller also made three changes to his starting side. Jackson, Kantarovski and Trifunovic were excluded for Daniel Mullen, Jason Hoffman and Ryan Kitto.

Victory starting the game strongly, with Jai Ingham and Kosta Barbarouses pushing forward, providing options and delivering crosses. Unfortunately, a series of misplaced crosses allowed the Jets to scramble clear.

From there on, the Jets started to work their way into the game. In the 20th minute, they almost took the lead if not for some brilliant goalkeeping by Thomas to deny Alivodic from point blank range.

Melbourne had their chances as well, with both Leigh Broxham and Oliver Bozanic going close before half time.

It would be the Jets, though, who would fire first, with Ryan Kitto bundling the ball over the line from close range in the 37th minute.

Match Details Full match details »

Date/Time Sun Mar 20, 2016, 5:00 PMStadium AAMI ParkAttendance 14,383Referee Chris Beath


Yellow Card5′ D.MullenGoal37′ R.KittoSecond Yellow Card39′ D.Mullen

Just minutes after striking the upright from an acute angle, Kitto was first to react after Leonardo put a ball across the face of goal from a Thomas Deng error in midfield.

Two minutes later, and the game would change yet again when Newcastle were reduced to ten men.

A feet-first challenge on Oliver Bozanic by Daniel Mullen — who was already on a booking — gave referee Chris Beath no choice but to produce a second yellow, and give the Jets defender his marching orders.

Replays suggested, however, that Beath may have been harsh in issuing the booking, with Mullen taking the ball and keeping his studs down in the challenge.

The Jets, despite being down to ten men, could’ve doubled their advantage shortly after the break.

An error by Bozanic allowing Jason Hoffman to steal the ball and feed it to Enver Alivodic. The Serbian tucked back onto his right boot and tried to curl it toward the far corner, missing by only a matter of inches.

Then, after 57 minutes, the Victory finally produced a shot on goal, and used it to great effect.

A ball over the top from Matthieu Deliperre found Besart Berisha, who semi-controlled the ball on his chest before sliding it under an advancing Birighitti to make it 1-1.

The goal seemed to energise the home side, as Newcastle were put on the back foot and required to desperately defend their penalty area.

Barbarouses came close to giving Victory the lead with a cross-cum-shot that had Birighitti beaten, but thumped back off the crossbar. Makarounas and Bozanic, too, went close, but neither could find the back of the net as the game edged toward 90 minutes.

Still, as they have in previous weeks, the Victory were profligate in the final third, and couldn’t find a way past a stubborn Newcastle side, despite the man advantage.

Melbourne now face Western Sydney at home on Good Friday, whilst the Jets will host Perth Glory on Saturday at Hunter Stadium.


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About the author

avatarJustin is a passionate football fan, and the Editor-in-chief of Ultimate A-League.

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