It was a thrilling match on Friday as Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United fought out a tough match to try and jump get closer to Perth at AAMI Park. Melbourne Victory got the 3-2 win in a tight match with all the scoring contained to the first half.
Melbourne Victory started the match very well with Besart Berisha, Carl Valeri and Fahid Ben Khalfallah looking dangerous and just seven minutes in to the match they had their opener. A Gui Finkler free kick was sent in to the box to the far post where Eugene Galekovic and Nigel Boogaard had a miscommunication as Boogaard tried to clear with his head but only succeeded in sending the ball over Galekovic and in to the back of the net.
Just one minute after going behind Adelaide United should have been level as Isaias sent in a cross for Awer Mabil. Mabil took a touch to control and then shot with his second but it was well off target, letting Victory off the hook.
But soon enough Adelaide United did have the equalizer, coming in the 13th minute after an impressive run from Craig Goodwin. He made his run down the right and found Mabil, who this time made no mistake, slamming the ball home for 1-1.
Victory responded and were back in front just three minutes later and it was yet another own goal that restored the lead. Finkler was again the key and again Boogaard was involved as Finkler cut in and sent the ball in, Boogaard played at the ball which saw Sergio Cirio caught out, the ball deflecting off Cirio and in to the back of the net as Boogaard’s horror night continued.
The two sides then traded chances, first Adelaide had a chance to equalize as Marcelo Carrusca sent a shot just wide from 30 yards out. That was followed by Craig Goodwin who sent in a cross, intended for Berisha that was left to Sam Galloway who beat Galekovic but sent his effort just wide.
After the half-hour Melbourne Victory doubled their lead as Ben Khalfallah worked hard to keep a corner alive. That allowed him to send the ball to Leigh Broxham, who was left open and with a simple finish to make it 3-1.
Two minutes later Adelaide United thought they had pulled a goal back as Carrusca hit an incredible free kick which was in the back of the net. But the goal was disallowed after the referee ruled interference from Mabil, despite that appearing to not be the case on replay.
But in the 36th minute Adelaide did manage to pull a goal back as Adrian Leijer brought down Cirio in the box. That allowed Carrusca to step up and get his goal as he buried the penalty powerfully to make it 3-2.
There was some controversy on the benches as Josep Gombeau accused Kevin Muscat of kicking a ball at him, which forced the referee to calm things down. That was the last ‘action’ of the half as the half ended with Victory 3-2 up.
The second-half was more sedate but just as competitive as the finishing from both sides seemed to vanish which put a dampener on the match. Five minutes in to the half Finkler found Mark Milligan but he sent his effort just wide from close range.
Just as tempers started to boil over, they seemed to be cooled by the crowd’s tribute to Australian cricket player Phil Hughes, in the 63rd minute, as they applauded for Hughes who was on a score of 63 when he was struck by a ball and eventually passed away on Thursday due to the injury. That didn’t stop the teams going for it but a match that was threatening to boil over seemed to be more grounded.
Victory could have wrapped up the match in the 77th minute as Berisha played a ball behind Archie Thompson. That allowed Thompson to find Kosta Barbarouses who took a shot which was well saved by Galekovic, leaving Berisha begging for the ball.
Adelaide had one last chance in the third minute of stoppage time as Bruce Djite thought he’d done enough only for Leigh Broxham to save Victory and smother the shot with his body, winning the match. The win helps Victory put space between themselves and Adelaide and keeps pressure on Perth at the top.