Nearly close to 13000 people crammed into Adelaide’s cathedral of football, to catch traditional fierce rivals Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory duel out their first clash this season.
The stage was set on a warm spring Saturday night, most venues close to Coopers Stadium were pumping before the game, beers were flowing and the 400 or so Victory away supporters were making their presence felt, in a positive way singing and chanting pre game to build the atmosphere. It had been an odd week for the reds an Olyroo sex scandal involving one of its prominent players and the team looking for its 5th win in a row, a feat not achieved since their championship year. On the other hand Melbourne Victory need a win badly, it has been a quiet start to the season for them, with players and coach leaving this new season, it feels the year is a regrouping write off for them, but the squad needed a win to build some positive momentum .
As 7pm kicked off it was all United the first 15 minutes with Strain, Maria, Opseth and Troisi running rampant in the Adelaide attacking half, Victory looked fatigued and shell shocked and with the corner count growing it was only a matter of time that the ball would find the back of the net. The shining light for Victory was their keeper Thomas, making numerous solid saves to deny the Reds, Izzo would’ve been watching and admiring his keeping prowess from his end, as he had a relative trouble free first half.
The breakthrough came in the 23rd minute when an Opseth strike was deflected off the post into the path of none other the Riley McGree who tapped it in. Adelaide top goal scorer this season continued his goal fest and the Reds would head to the break with a 1nil advantage. With no Muscat on the lines, it was clear victory lacked fire, no longer were the dirty tactics on field of hard tackling, name calling or anything else the team would deploy in the past to get an adversary off their game.
The second half stared well for Victory they introduced first Elvis Kamsoba, the young Burundi national was tearing up the right flank troubling the reds midfield and defence for most of the second half. His speed and willingness to play on all sides of the park, spurred the victory into life and they hit back in the 61st, as a Toivonen volley hit the back of the net to level up the game, he’d beaten Maria and found himself waiting in the box to execute and easy volley from a cross.
In a minute of madness as play resumed maybe Maria had felt guilty about not man marking better, Maria stared a mad centre run and with the aid of Melusnic fired home a quick response goal, leaving victory fans stunned. Their hard work was cancelled out in under a minute.
Five minutes after snatching the lead again the match was sealed as McGree nailed his sixth goal this season. Being 3-1 ahead any puff from victory had been extinguished and they found themselves on the back of another loss. With only one win from seven matches this season, Victory fans would be starting to get anxious, the Melbourne power team sit 9th while small time club United jump to 3rd!
The reds have started there triple header of home games on the right note. With a quiet week for the club and 5 wins on the trot, bring on Wellington Phoenix next Sunday.