Former Melbourne Victory striker Kosta Barbarouses fired Sydney FC to a crucial win against his old team in the Big Blue rivalry.
Victory took an unlikely lead through Ola Toivonen, but could not resist the surges from Sydney as the Sky Blues scored twice in seven minutes through Adam Le Fondre and Barbarouses to take the three points.
The Sky Blues now cement themselves in second place in the league, while there might be a few concerns for Victory, now three games without a win.
Here are three thoughts from Sydney’s come from behind win against Victory…
Sydney fight off resilient Victory
It took about 60 minutes but Sydney eventually came out of their shells to secure the three points against a resilient Melbourne side.
Watching the first half, it was hard not to think it would be one of those days for Steve Corica’s side as easy passes went astray and shots fired way off target. It says something that Sydney were able to wake up from their slumber to turn the game around.
Sydney contain quality in spades, and even on their worst days, they can count on the talent of certain individuals to pick their team up from the heap. Tonight, it was moments from Adam Le Fondre and Rhyan Grant that did it.
Former Victory man Kosta Barbarouses was the man to give the Sky Blues the lead after slamming home his own rebounded shot and stayed true to his word that he wouldn’t celebrate against his former team.
This Melbourne Victory team is very different to the one Barbarouses left, and given all the players that were excluded due to international duties, Marco Kurz should be quietly pleased that his team put up such a fight.
Of course, the expectations for Victory are far higher than that, and once all his players return from their national teams, as well as injuries, Kurz will have a far bigger job to do to arrest the slide of one of the A-League’s most famous teams.
How does Rhyan Grant do it?
Just a bit more than 60 hours ago, Grant played a full 90 minutes for the Socceroos in the uncomfortable Middle Eastern conditions. Tonight, after a long-haul flight which was upgraded to first-class by his team, he incredibly did another full match.
Full-back is perhaps the role that requires the most running and the most stamina, especially in Grant’s game where he’s ordered to run up and down the right side of the pitch throughout the game.
The 28 year old even found the energy to position himself in the box to chest a Milos Ninkovic cross on a platter for Barbarouses to finish up, just reinforcing how important his attacking tendencies are for the team.
He might have been culpable for Victory’s only goal as he lost Ola Toivonen in the box, but it’s difficult to be especially harsh on him after the past three days that he had.
Now, hopefully Grant can enjoy a well-earned rest and a nice ice bath after the game. It’s the least he deserves.
Ola Toivonen Stands Tall
Since arriving on Australian shores last year, the big Swede has consistently shown that he is one of the best, if not the best, players in the A-League.
Last season, he was alongside quality teammates such as Keisuke Honda and Terry Antonis to help support his plays. Now, Victory has become a one-man show, and Toivonen seems to spend all his time in the spotlight.
Against Sydney, he struggled to receive much of the ball by coming deep and was largely a bystander as Victory looked to hold tight defensively. Still, it only took Melbourne’s captain one chance for him to give his team an unlikely lead.
Toivonen found space in the box while Hope delivered a precise cross from a Victory counter-attack for the Swede to header it in from close range.
It wasn’t enough on the night as Sydney showed while Toivonen might be a one man army, the Sky Blues are a well drilled platoon.