Victory win 2-0, but result overshadowed on a crazy night at AAMI.
In a match that was overshadowed by events at half-time and post-match, Melbourne Victory defeated Perth Glory on Friday night with goals from Adama Traore and Gui Finkler securing the 2-0 win.
A win is a win
Following the recent results and the goal-drought of sorts, three points was the only acceptable result for the Victory and they delivered. A strangely subdued effort from the Glory helped contribute, as did a powerful strike from Adama Traore, but being into the second of a five match back-to-back run at home, this result overshadows performance slightly. Some frustrating signs are still there.
All the same?
Where Victory was brought down slightly is the lack of differentiation in midfield and attack. Connor Pain, James Troisi and Kosta Barbarouses are all in the same small playmaker/winger mould and provide more of the same attributes, while not bringing that killer streak a striker brings.
Neither of Mark Milligan, Leigh Broxham and Mitch Nichols offer the crucial creative difference that Gui Finkler provides. It almost mirrors the issue the attack has, frustration comes because there is a clear alternative (in Finkler) to change it.
After sticking with the same XI that lost the week prior, it is hard to see Kevin Muscat changing now. A cautious streak is in him, as seen by his subs in his tenure so far and reluctance to change what might end up as a better alternative, as Victory still dropped several chances that would have put the game away earlier. It is also time for Gui Finkler to start this weekend. They were able to control the majority of the match, but on occasion switched off as was illustrated at the beginning of the second half.
The partnership of Adrian Leijer/Pablo Contreras took a battering last week, and despite a toothless opposition, responded in the best way with a clean sheet. Prior to the Newcastle loss, Victory were coming off two clean sheets which, for an expected title contender, were priceless. The importance of clean sheets can’t be overstated this A-League season.
Thanks to Athas Zafiris and Engel Schmidl for that one, go visit their website (shootfarken.com.au) too, while you’re at it. Victory recorded 23 shots (10 of which were on target), two more than last week and eleven more than in the draw with the Mariners a fortnight ago. You can’t score if you don’t shoot, and Victory were more daring in doing so. Just imagine if a striker was around…
Post-script: It would be remiss of me not to mention the mass walkout of the Nothern Terrace fans at half-time, as a result of a physical confrontation with stadium security, which came after a ‘football is freedom’ banner was unveiled. There is still a notion, which is a ridiculous and discriminatory one held by security/police forces, that chanting, singing and banners are confronting and violent. It has to change.
It doesn’t help that active fans are being taken for granted by some and others in the stands. It is now time for the impasse to be resolved, if that means locking the leadership of the NTC and Anthony Di Pietro, Trent Jacobs and Ian Robson in a room together, so be it.
This performance indicated that all wasn’t well for the Glory behind the scenes, the events in the immediate aftermath and press conference the day after confirmed them. Despite the injury toll, Perth should have put in a much more assertive performance than they did, some of what they had been playing in the last weeks had them in good shape, to fall away like this was surprising but was explained by the later events.
Perth didn’t press up the park for the majority and in the brief moments they did, didn’t have it organised. The Jets played a perfect ‘on the road’ game last weekend, the Glory weren’t as capable. Edwards hasn’t been shy in changing formations and personnel, it didn’t quite work out as Perth, for the majority, struggled to play and find momentum going forward.
Criticism of Edwards was valid on this matchday, trailing on the road is the time to introduce a striker or playmaker. The exciting Danny De Silva didn’t see game-time until minutes before the final whistle, which was confusing. Coaches are often judged on their match-day coaching, how Edwards didn’t see fit to throw on another creative player was strange.
Victory tapered off over the second half, which the visitors could have taken advantage of, but didn’t. They were able to play more, able to knock the ball around and could have poached an equalising goal late had it not been blasted over straight in front of goal by Ryan Edwards. A sliding doors moment if there ever was one.
All is not well
How Tony Sage, Jason Brewer and co. fix this mess is beyond me. It is hard to see a resolution when there is a feud between leaders and coach, Perth may not be big enough for Jacob Burns and Alistair Edwards. Allegations of nepotism abound, perhaps predictable when the leader is benched for one of the coach’s sons and even more so when said leader is left unused. The coach has to have control over the squad and the football matters, it now appears Edwards has lost it.