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Melbourne Victory 2 - 2 Brisbane Roar (By a Melbourne Victory fan)

Tuesday 8th November 2011
In what was quite possibly the match of the season, Melbourne Victory hosted the current champions, Brisbane Roar at Etihad Stadium last Saturday. The game ended in a 2-2 all draw, but for Victory fans it felt like a win.

Brisbane went into the game after their 7-1 annihilation of Adelaide United the week before, aiming to extend their 32-game undefeated streak. Melbourne Victory on the other hand had only just managed to clinch their first 3-points of the season the week before, and its potentially dangerous attack force had not yet lived up to the hype.

For the fifth consecutive time, Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic changed his starting line-up. Tom Pondeljak came into the starting line-up, whilst Jean Carlos Solorzano was left out of the squad altogether. It is impossible to tell whether this formation would have worked against the Roar, as Victory couldn't have gotten off to a worse start.

Within 90 seconds captain Adrian Leijer was dispossessed by Besart Berisha, who then raced forward to the penalty box, only to be brought down goalkeeper Ante Covic. Covic was rightly shown a red-card by referee Ben Williams, and was sent back to the dressing rooms for a very early shower. Pondeljak then made way for Victory's third choice keeper, 19 year old Lawrence Thomas.

Unfortunately for Thomas and Victory, Henrique stepped up and fired home from the penalty spot. At this stage many of the 25,000 strong crowd believed they were about to experience a massacre worse than what had been dealt to Adelaide the week before.

Incredibly, Melbourne Victory then scored not once, but twice. Archie Thompson first deftly lobbed Brisbane Roar goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos in the tenth minute and sent the home fans into raptures.

In the 21st minute, Thompson scored again. This time he was on the end of a Harry Kewell through-ball, and after a weaving run slotted the ball past Theoklitos. The stadium erupted in a cacophony of noise and colour.

However, their lead didn't last long. Roar's dynamic midfielder, Thomas Broich was fouled on the edge of the area by Leijer in the 27th minute. Broich then brilliantly slid the ball under the wall in what was a practiced training move, levelling the score at 2-2.

There was more drama yet to come. Victory defender Matthew Foschini made a bad challenge on Broich which Williams deemed was worthy of a straight red card. The Melbourne fans were not happy and voiced their opinions loudly for a good 5-6 minutes before the break.

As was expected, Victory came out after half-time and ‘parked the bus.' But even with a two man advantage, Brisbane Roar was unable to break down Victory's defence.

Leigh Broxham was immense in his defensive midfield role, and played one of his best games for Victory, whilst Thomas also put in a terrific effort in his debut, pulling off a number of important saves.

When the final whistle blew, the Victory fans celebrated like they had won. Indeed, it did feel as if they had. To keep the in-form Brisbane to a draw with only nine men was a tremendous achievement.
Paddy Naughtin

Total articles: 8

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