Galaxy win in shootout


Los Angeles Galaxy capped what could be David Beckham’s last match with the club with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium after the match was locked at 2-2 after 90 minutes.

Los Angeles Galaxy capped what could be David Beckham’s last match with the club with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium after the match was locked at 2-2 after 90 minutes.

Victory took the lead through Carlos Hernandez at the 15-minute mark and were looking good when Isaka Cernak doubled their advantage after 37 minutes.

But two penalties from Robbie Keane on either side of halftime, both of them controversial, pulled things back to 2-2 and despite the best efforts of both sides that was where it finished after 90 minutes.

Things looked good for Victory in the shoot-out when Landon Donovan hit the bar with Galaxy’s first spot-kick, but misses from Paulo Retre and Marco Rojas meant Paolo Cardozo’s penalty was enough to hand Galaxy the win in the Hyundai Club Challenge.

Archie Thompson had the first good chance of the match in the fourth minute when he found himself clean through after Danny Allsopp’s cross, but Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders was off his line smartly to effect the save.

Beckham went close to opening the scoring in the 12th minute in the most spectacular fashion after seizing on a loose ball inside his own half but his audacious attempt to chip Covic from halfway was just wide of the upright.

Hernandez put Victory ahead at the 15-minute mark when he latched onto a Cernak pass inside the box and although AJ DeLaGarza blocked his first shot, the Victory man beat the defender second time round before lashing a left-foot shot past Saunders into the roof of the net.

Adam Cristman’s header went close to levelling for Galaxy after a good Beckham cross, while at the other end Saunders was on hand to pull off a great save from Thompson 25 minutes in, the keeper sticking out his left hand to block the effort with Cernak firing wide from the follow up.

Hernandez fired a long-range free kick just over in the 33rd minute, and Thompson stung the hands of Saunders with a volley two minutes later.

Cernak made it 2-0 in the 37th minute when Hernandez played him in with a slide rule pass and the midfielder poked it past Saunders with the simplest of finishes.

Keane almost scored for Galaxy immediately after the restart, but Covic did well to stop his shot after a great run from the former Spurs man.

Keane did pull one back for the visitors five minutes before halftime when referee Strebre Delovski awarded a controversial penalty, ruling the ball grazed Matthew Foschini’s hand inside the box, and the Irishman coolly slotted it home.

Adrian Leijer’s powerful header was headed off the line by Chris Birchall, and Allsopp had a great chance to make it 3-1 just before the interval but the big striker’s chip sailed over the bar to cap off what was an entertaining first half.

Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic pulled off Hernandez, Thompson, Leijer and Covic at halftime, and Keane levelled proceedings four minutes after the break when Galaxy were awarded another dubious penalty.
Petar Franjic was judged to have felled Beckham inside the box and Keane sent Covic’s replacement Lawrence Thomas the wrong way to tie things up.

Five minutes later Beckham almost put the MLS champions in front but his curling right-foot shot was just wide as the Americans began to take the ascendancy in midfield.

Jean Carlos Solorzano spurned a great chance to put Victory up again just before the hour mark, failing to get a shot off after taking the ball round Saunders.

Youth team product Retre came on to make his Victory debut, replacing Foschini, and Luke O’Dea joined him on the field shortly afterward with Cernak the man to make way.

James Jeggo forced a good save from Saunders with a long-range strike, Donovan almost sealed victory for the Galaxy with a great solo effort five minutes from the end and Hector Jimenez’ did likewise with a fantastic effort from distance that rattled the post.

Allsopp’s strong run and shot found the side netting with two minutes remaining, and Beckham came off in the 89th minute to the applause of the crowd, replaced by Gregg Berhalter.

Jeggo had the chance to win it for Victory but his free-kick was well handled by Saunders, and the match headed for penalties.

Rody Vargas slotted home Victory’s first before Galaxy captain Donovan struck the bar with his spot-kick to hand the hosts the ascendancy.

Youngster Retre hit the bar for Victory though and when Rojas had his effort saved it was left to Cardozo to step up and secure a 4-3 shoot-out win for the American side.

Melbourne Victory 2 (Hernandez 15, Cernak 37)
Los Angeles Galaxy 2 (Keane 40 pen, 49 pen)
Galaxy win 4-3 on penalties.

Crowd: 34,608 at Etihad Stadium