Sunday, 7 October 2007

Two in a row

Last night, it was another trip to the Royal Melbourne Hotel to watch the Melbourne Victory take on arch rivals, Sydney. This time I managed to drag along my football suffering girlfriend. It was a good turnout that saw the Victory triumph 1-0. The match had all the hallmarks of a clasico, yellow cards, red cards, controversy and a late winner. And how the patrons cheered when Allsopp put the ball in the back of the net. It got a slightly greater response than that that greeted the dismissal of Corica. It is always good to beat Sydney, especially on their own turf. One of these days I will head north to see this classic clash.

But for many the main talking point of the night will be the refereeing performance of one Mark Shields, the best referee we have in this country. Unfortunately last night, he had a shocker. He managed to hand out eight yellow cards and one red card. His sending off of Corica for his studs up challenge to Pantelidis' thigh might have been harsh, but it was appropriate. For the most part a lot of the cards were for innocuous challenges and backchat and were unnecessary. This resulted in a very stop-start game that wasn't all that pleasing on the eye. This week it was the referee having an impact on the quality of the game and to a lesser extent the players. The Football Tragic also gives us his thoughts on the game.

Pre-game injury concerns to Broxham and Piorkowski were well founded and saw the return of Hernandez to the starting line-up. Unfortunately there was no start for Caceres, who again proved his worth by providing the great cross for Allsopp to slot home. What does he have to do to get a starting spot? But it was promising to see that Merrick had a number of attacking options on the bench in both Caceres and Patafta. And it was good to see them get some decent game time, especially Patafta. Hernandez probably had his best game of the season and he started to show his worth in the heart of midfield with some excellent distribution. It will be interesting to see how Merrick handles the situation of not having both Broxham (Olyroos duty) and Brebner (suspension due to four yellow cards). I would love to see both Hernandez and Caceres on the pitch together as I think they could really feed of each other well.

The quality of play is slowly improving and will be interesting to see how things shape up against Adelaide next week again away from home. Another win would be most welcome.


Blogger Cecilia said...

I was a bit silly while watching this match and I celebrated Breb's yellow as it will force Ernie to change the midfield a little!

I've been thinking that perhaps Merrick isn't starting Caceres because he really comes off the bench raring to go and prove himself.

Reminds me of Hiddink benching Cahill, Aloisi and Kewell during the Japan and Croatia matches...
"You putting me on the bench?" so they get all worked up and pumped, and then when given the opportunity, "I'll show you!" Hee hee... pleasant memories there... but I don't know if Merrick's head works that way.

9 October 2007 at 22:30  
Blogger Neil said...

I had the same feeling about Brebner's yellow. It may provide an opportunity for Merrick to really go for an attacking midfield against a slightly weakened Adelaide. Will wait and see.

10 October 2007 at 09:21  
Blogger Cecilia said...

Of course, now with Broxham and Muscat both injured, it's not so funny.

11 October 2007 at 23:18  

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