Boca Juniors fights out Victory

Argentine side Boca Juniors has claimed a hard-fought 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory in the clubs’ pre-season friendly before 13,020 fans at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

Argentine side Boca Juniors has claimed a hard-fought 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory in the clubs’ pre-season friendly before 13,020 fans at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

Marcelo Canete’s goal in the 42nd minute proved the difference, Canete recovering from a bloodied nose that twice required treatment after a collision with referee Strebre Delovski to slice through the defence and finish well.

Just three weeks before Melbourne Victory opens its 2010-11 Hyundai A-League campaign away to Sydney FC in a rematch of last season’s grand final, coach Ernie Merrick made the most of his extended bench to give as many players as possible a hit-out.

After an opening 20 minutes in which the teams spent much of their time settling and working each other out, things came to life when Evan Berger’s free kick from distance got through to the far post where Marvin Angulo rifled his shot across the face.

A mishit clearance from keeper Glen Moss a couple of minutes later almost proved costly but Rody Vargas was on the spot to block the Boca shot, before Adrian Leijer headed clear seconds later following a free kick from Pablo Mouche.

Just before the half-hour mark Canete was left with blood pouring from his nose following the accidental clash with Delovski, and he spent two separate spells on the sideline with the medicos trying to stem the bleeding.

The hosts looked set to score 12 minutes before the break when Mate Dugandzic found himself on the end of a superb ball into the box but his first touch let him down forcing him to attempt a cross rather than a shot and Angulo couldn’t quite reach it with Javier Garcia stranded on his line.

Cristian Erbes picked up a yellow card on 35 minutes for a foul on Berger and Robbie Kruse received one as well for a retaliatory push on Erbes before Kruse just failed to get his head to a long-range free kick.

The deadlock was finally broken moments before the break when a Vargas back pass to Broxham was picked off by Canete who firstly went past Broxham and then got around Leijer before firing home on his left from the heart of the box.

Moss was replaced by Victory recruit Michael Petkovic at the interval and he was called on almost immediately after the resumption when Luciano Monzon found Canete in the box and his goal-bound effort was pushed away by Petkovic.

Ernie Merrick made three substitutions approaching the hour mark, with Matthew Foschini, Nick Ward and Billy Celeski introduced for Surat Sukha, Dugandzic and Angulo respectively, Celeski back for his first major hit-out since suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2009-10.

Moments later and Matias Gimenez, Carlos Nicolas Colazo and Nicolas Gonzalez replaced Marin, Monzon and Canete respectively for Boca before the changes continued in the 73rd minute with Diogo Ferreira coming on for Berger.

After a couple of promising attacks from Melbourne went unconverted veteran Tom Pondeljak pulled the trigger from distance and his shot just sailed wide of Garcia’s right post before Boca brought Sergio Araujo and Nicolas Blandi on for Lucas Viatri and Mouche respectively.

With 10 minutes to go Celeski intercepted a poor clearance after Kruse had pressured the defence but after shaping to shoot he tried to lay the ball off for Kruse who hadn’t run on and then Merrick replaced Pondeljak with Jimmy Jeggo and Kruse with Luke O’Dea while David Achuccarro came on for Erbes.

Araujo almost doubled Boca’s advantage in the closing stages when he got past a couple of defenders and raced 40m before firing at goal from the front of the box but his effort just finished wide of the mark.

Melbourne Victory 0
Boca Juniors 1 (Canete 42)