After an epic journey to reach the game, the Victory players didn't manage to turn up.
A lack of quality down the spine cost Melbourne the game. The quality of Rhys Williams and Terry Antonis might have made a difference tonight but they’ll be relieved to have missed this.
Conceding six goals is never a good look but it looks much worse when many of the goals came from poor positioning and individual errors. A bit of luck fell Ulsan’s way too. Who reacts first from how the ball ricochets off a player can often expose players who aren’t switched on. With nearly every loose ball falling for Ulsan, it became clear the Victory boys were asleep.
Sadly, Victory attacked well in the second half and it was nice to see Kenny Athiu and Barbarouses score but it was too little.
Lawrence Thomas – 4
Had an absolute howler of a clearance that gifted Ulsan the first goal. No good goalkeeper would have saved the second goal. The third and fourth were also very hard to save. After that he made some good stops.
Leigh Broxham – 3
In the first half he was left a bit isolated in defence, the Victory back four weren’t shuffling across enough to cover him. In the second half the Victory back three were even further apart and now as a part of that formation, Broxham was culpable. He might have been better leading the team’s defence from centre half with Deng playing as fullback.
James Donachie – 3
As the slightly more experienced centre-half his team needed him to take charge tonight. He didn’t. He lacked composure, particularly when trying to recover his position.
Thomas Deng – 3
Didn’t look comfortable in the middle of the defence and Victory really needed someone to be composed back there. He was in a rush too often.
Stefan Nigro – 4
Didn’t offer enough in attack, to be fair he was ignored a few times but better positioning would have demanded his team mate’s attention. He wasn’t at fault for any of the first half goals but he was taken off at halftime.
Carl Valeri – 3
Let the team down with a couple of skill errors and this was while the game was still in the balance. He got better when the chips were down but it was too late for his team by then. He needed to be leading well from the start and demanding his players lifted to the standard required.
Joshua Hope – 3
He’s had some really nice performances off the bench lately. You could say he’s done enough to earn his spot in the starting eleven. He should lose that spot again after this performance. Made some poor decisions in possession but it was without the ball that he cost his team. He was out of position on several occasions and he lost his man just as many times. Hopefully he’ll learn from this.
James Troisi – 3
A very poor performance from someone who wants to go to Russia. He might have been feeling the effects of his recent rack up of frequent flyer miles but his team needed better. He was off the pace.
Kosta Barbarouses – 5
A great finish for Victory’s second goal and a good assist for the first. He just took way too long to come into the game. There were flashes early but he’d show them by beating a player well and then slamming his cross straight into the defender, or out. Consistency has always been his Achilles’ heel but this unpredictability can also be his strength.
Leroy George – 3
Easily his worst performance for Victory. So many things he tried simply failed. He was beaten in one on ones, his passes were intercepted constantly and he struggled to find space. He should have come off for a rest and to protect himself.
Besart Berisha – 3
Didn’t do too badly tonight but he often stalled Victory counter attacks with slow, awkward hold up play. Should have pulled the trigger in the box when he had possession there twice.
Jai Ingham – 5
He provided a spark on a few occasions but he also showed why he isn’t pushing his way into the starting eleven. He always misses a few easy passes and tonight was no exception.
Kenny Athiu – 6
A very good performance off the bench but the game was already over before he came on. A couple of nice finishes (one didn’t count) and some agile, dynamic hold up play.
Christian Theoharous – 5.5
He should have come on at half time. His positive play led to Victory’s second goal. His performances this season are really demanding more game time.