Victory held by Reds


Melbourne Victory has been held to a 1-1 draw at Etihad Stadium by arch-rivals Adelaide United in Saturday night’s clash at Etihad Stadium.

Melbourne Victory has been held to a 1-1 draw at Etihad Stadium by arch-rivals Adelaide United in Saturday night’s clash at Etihad Stadium.

Archie Thompson’s fourth goal of the season, a header in the 59th minute, put the hosts in the box seat to collect a precious three points, but Fabian Barbiero equalised for the Reds eight minutes from time.

Thompson, the A-League’s all-time leading goalscorer rose majestically to meet a cross from Fabio and planted the ball low inside Eugene Galekovic’s left-hand post, giving the keeper no chance.

It sparked a dominant spell from the hosts who could have doubled or tripled their lead.

Instead, it was the Reds who struck back through Barbiero’s left-footed blast that evaded a diving Ante Covic after good lead-up work from Zenon Caravella and Sergio van Dijk.

The Victory had a great chance to win it in extra time when Harry Kewell cut the ball low and hard across the goalmouth where Grant Brebner and Carlos Hernandez were lined up, but neither managed to get a touch.

The result was just the second draw between these teams from 12 matches at Etihad Stadium.

Melbourne remains eighth on the ladder just behind Wellington Phoenix on goal difference.

Thompson and Leigh Broxham were standouts for the Victory along with Kewell who was denied in the opening minute of play and in the 45th by one of the saves of the season.

The Reds were bolstered by the return of star striker van Dijk who missed three matches with a calf strain and hard-nosed defender Nigel Boogaard from suspension.

Victory mounted their first serious attack with less than 60 seconds on the clock when Thompson put Kewell in the clear with a precision pass that split the Reds’ defence.

One on one with Galekovic, Kewell had time to pick his spot, but shot straight at the keeper.

The hosts came close a minute later when Galekovic fumbled a Hernandez free kick.

Adrian Leijer latched onto the rebound and his blast was goal-bound but Galekovic spread himself to block.

Adelaide’s best chance of the opening half came in the 23rd minute when Iain Ramsay whipped in a cross from the left for Zenon Caravella who had a metre on Broxham.

Somehow the Victory No.6 got a touch on the ball which fell into the path of Barbiero whose shot from just outside the box ballooned harmlessly over the bar.

Victory continued to press but the final pass let them down.

Caravella and Kewell brought the crowd to their feet with a push and shove over a disputed free kick that attracted interest from all 22 players on the pitch who converged in a melee that, thankfully, settled quickly.

That appeared likely to be that for the first half but, with seconds remaining, Billy Celeski floated a hopeful long ball that Boogaard misjudged.

Kewell was able to nip in behind his marker and, for the second time in the match, found himself one-on-one with Galekovic who was off his line.

The chip was on and Kewell’s flick from the edge of the box was in all the way until Galekovic flung himself acrobatically backwards, reached out with his right arm and got a fingertip to the ball with just enough contact to tip it wide.

After Thompson finally broke the deadlock, Victory dominated the next 10 minutes and could have doubled or tripled their lead.

On the end of a delightful through ball from Hernandez, Kewell blasted inches wide in the 62nd minute and moments later Thompson turned Cameron Watson inside out to force a great diving save from Galekovic.

Kewell came close again in the 83rd minute when he had a shot cleared off the line by Watson.

Melbourne Victory 1 (Thompson 69)
Adelaide United 1 (Barbiero 82)
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