Vic­tory luck turns af­ter fa­mil­iar derby feel­ing

Sunday Herald Sun - - Soccer - MATT WINDLEY

IT took 102 days. But Mel­bourne Vic­tory will say last night’s con­tro­ver­sial late win over Mel­bourne City in a dra­matic Eti­had Sta­dium derby was karma for its loss in the FFA Cup semi-fi­nal last year.

Vic­tory was star­ing down the bar­rel of a fourth straight loss hav­ing fallen be­hind 1-0 soon af­ter Be­sart Ber­isha missed a 63rd-minute penalty.

But Ber­isha would still be in the cen­tre of the ac­tion in the game’s two de­ci­sive mo­ments when he equalised in the 84th minute and was around the scene of the crime for the goa­head goal two min­utes later.

The ball found the back of the net off the boot of Manny Mus­cat fol­low­ing bril­liant lead-up work by Ja­son Ge­ria.

Con­fu­sion reigned on the side­lines as the lines­man raised his flag for off­side.

Ber­isha was in an off­side po­si­tion, but af­ter a lengthy con­sul­ta­tion with his as­sis­tant, ref­eree Chris Beath gave the goal, ad­judg­ing that Ber­isha was not in­ter­fer­ing with play.

In the Cup semi, Luke Brat­tan scored from long range, the lines­man raised his flag be­cause Tim Cahill was in an off­side po­si­tion, but the ref­eree al­lowed the goal to stand be­cause he de­cided that Cahill was not in­ter­fer­ing with goal- keeper Lawrence Thomas’ line of sight. City went on to win 2-0. The pres­sur­ing of the as­sis­tant ref­eree last night was ugly.

It’s be­com­ing all too com­mon in the A-League and, no mat­ter the frus­tra­tion with the stan­dards of of­fi­ci­at­ing, it is a poor look from play­ers who are meant to be role mod­els.

City goal­keeper Dean Bouza­nis, es­pe­cially, needs to cool it in such cir­cum­stances.

He was right to cop a yel­low card from Beath just weeks af­ter he copped a serve from Cen­tral Coast coach Paul Okon for car­ry­ing on in a sim­i­lar way.

The con­tro­versy ramped up even fur­ther when Cahill, who was pre­par­ing to come on to the field as a sub­sti­tute, was also shown a red card for hav­ing a crack at the match of­fi­cials in the af­ter­math to the con­tro­ver­sial goal.

It was a stag­ger­ing end to what had been, for the most part, a dour con­test.

And when the two coaches did not shake hands post match it demon­strated the angst that ex­its be­tween the two sides.

But the match was played out in front of a crowd that was posted as be­ing 35,426.

It’s the first time in eight Eti­had der­bies that the crowd has dipped be­low 40,000.

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