Victory misses its chance

It was a case of missed opportunities as Melbourne Victory went down to their bitter rivals Sydney FC 2-0 at Telstra Dome.

It was a case of missed opportunities as Melbourne Victory went down to their bitter rivals Sydney FC 2-0 at Telstra Dome.

Sydney took an early lead through Mark Bridge on 20 minutes after which the Victory created plenty of chances but were unable to capitalize before John Aloisi scored Sydney’s second in the 62nd minute.

Sydney tried to control the early tempo to take the sting out of a boisterous crowd and a dangerous Adam Casey cross was well cut out by skipper Kevin Muscat in the fifth minute.

Muscat was again called into action in the ninth minute with a superb tackle to dispossess Sydney’s Brendan Santalab and shortly after Michael Theoklitos brilliantly denied Steve Corica from only eight metres out.

Victory had their first attempt of the night after 13 minutes when Carlos Hernandez chested down with wonderful control to shoot on the turn only to see it go wide.

Sydney opened the scoring through Mark Bridge in the 20th minute after Santalab and Corica combined in the air from a well-placed Sydney corner.

The goal only served to ignite the Victory boys and they were unlucky not to reply immediately after the re-start with Michael Thwaite heading a dangerous ball into the Sydney box from a Jose Luis Lopez free kick. The chances were coming thick and fast for the Victory with Danny Allsopp just missing with a flicked header in the 32nd minute.

Evan Berger went on an electrifying run through the Sydney defence in the 35th minute which resulted in a free kick deep in Hernandez territory. The Costa Rican curled it just over the bar with a great attempt. Minutes later Hernandez picked out an unmarked Danny Allsopp who failed to get any power behind the volley.

The second half began promisingly and in the 50th minute Hernandez headed into the path of Allsopp who couldn’t control the volley. Minutes later Allsopp was again in the thick of the action as he chased a long ball to courageously meet the keeper head on, only to be penalised for handball.

In the 62nd minute Aloisi scored a second for Sydney when his hurried chip over Theoklitos caught the bar and landed just over the line after some haphazard Melbourne defence.

Coach Ernie Merrick had Michael Thwaite make way for Matthew Kemp in an attempt to shake up the Victory attack and Kemp was immediately lively down the right. Nick Ward came on for Hernandez and a winding run on 83 minutes from Allsopp provided some much needed spark but his shot went wide.

Theoklitos provided a rare highlight of the second half with a tremendous reflex save to deny Corica in the 86th minute.

Coach Ernie Merrick was disappointed in his troops after the game and lamented the lack of attacking options.

“We did get the ball forward in the second half but we just didn’t have a goalscorer,” he said.

“Hardly a quality strike on target. I think there is no doubt we paid the price for those red cards tonight.”

Merrick stopped short of making excuses for the loss.

“It was a fair result, Sydney were the better team on the night.”

Melbourne Victory 0
Sydney FC 2 (Bridge 20, Aloisi 63)
Crowd 31,564 at Melbourne’s Telstra Dome