Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat refuses to blame Carl Valeri and Marco Rojas after both players missed spot kicks in the penalty shootout Grand Final loss to Sydney FC.
After 120 minutes of tense nail-bitting action, Grand Final combatants Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory needed a penalty shoot to decide the victor after the game finished 1-1.
Unfortunately for Victory, two of their most influential players on the night couldn’t convert their penalties and Sydney FC came away with their third A-League Championship title after winning on penalties 4-2.
Victory captain Valeri, was in impressive figure throughout the game but his spot kick hit the bar, while Rojas, who was a constant threat out on the wing had his penalty saved by Sydney goalkeeper Danny Vukovic.
Victory coach, Muscat refused to apportion blame to Rojas, who previous to his miss spent time on the sidelines with an injury.
“Marco was comfortable,” he said.
“We can find little subplots to make issues of, he took a penalty and he didn’t score, if we want to drag him through the mill for it there is no need.
“I missed one a few years ago write about that.”
Muscat revealed that Valeri was affected by an injury just moments before the break and made note of his Captain’s bravery to stay on the field and take a penalty.
“He was struggling as well, five or ten minutes before half time, we were going to take him off,” he said.
“He was struggling with his calf so for the remainder of the game we were just waiting to bring Rashid on but the true leader that he is he stayed out there.
“He wanted to put his name down to take a penalty and being the leader that he is he wanted to step up and take one.
“It’s no problem anyway because I keep replaying mine in any event anyway, people get more enjoyment out of my miss than anyone else’s.”
Muscat also said that he and his players were still coming to grips with how the final result did not go their way.
“That’s the gut wrenching thing for me really,” he said.
“When I Iook at the players in the eye and somehow have to try and explain how they’ve lost tonight.
“It was an unbelievable effort and in the end the ball comes of the post at one end and comes back into play, and at the other end and it hits the post and goes away.
“I suppose that’s life and that’s football but it’s gut wrenching trying to find the words to try to explain to the players how they have lost that game – they didn’t deserve to lose.”