Net worth de­creases

Sunday Herald Sun - - RACING - Com­pare the book­ies for City’s game Coach: Subs:

MEL­BOURNE City boss War­ren Joyce said it was time his starters earnt praise, hint­ing strongly that he would stick with his reg­u­lars for tonight’s clash against Western Syd­ney.

City can re­gain top spot by beat­ing the Wan­der­ers at AAMI Park, af­ter Syd­ney FC lost to Cen­tral Coast Mariners on Fri­day night.

Joyce said striker Ross McCor­mack had come off his sharpest week of train­ing since ar­riv­ing from As­ton Villa.

City’s star-stud­ded subs Marcin Budzin­ski, Marcelo Car­r­usca and Neil Kilkenny SEVEN months makes a big dif­fer­ence in the A-League.

Just hours af­ter last sea­son’s wooden spooner New­cas­tle went top of the ta­ble, Mel­bourne Vic­tory and Bris­bane clashed at Eti­had Sta­dium in a re­match of the semi-fi­nal.

And how the mighty have fallen so far this cam­paign.

While the match ex­ploded to life in the last 20 min­utes, with both goals com­ing late, those in at­ten­dance oth­er­wise en­dured a drab en­counter that was in­dica­tive of where both of these teams sit af­ter six rounds. Still win­less. Be­sart Ber­isha looked to have net­ted the win­ner against his old side, scor­ing in the 79th minute af­ter be­ing teed up by the bril­liant Leroy Ge­orge.

The goal came on the back of Vic­tory’s 10 best min­utes and the hosts ap­peared to have the mo­men­tum.

En­ter sub­sti­tute Brett Hol­man, who scored the equaliser in the 84th minute.

Both sides have there is no doubt.

Both were hideously un­der­manned — Vic­tory, mainly be­cause of its in­ter­na­tional with­drawals, and Roar through in­jury.

But the fact re­mains this sea­son has failed to ig­nite for the pair of three-time cham­pi­ons.

This is the long­est Vic­tory has gone with­out a win to start a sea­son.

It had five draws to be­gin 2007-08 and missed the fi­nals.

“It al­most feels like a de­feat,” Vic­tory coach Kevin Muscat said.

“It was dis­ap­point­ing. The game was cry­ing out for one team to take as­cen­dancy, but it just seemed to be one big bat­tle from start to fin­ish.

“Nei­ther team could get the ball down.

“It wasn’t through a lack of try­ing, but it was nowhere near ex­cuses, have had plenty of time on the bench, but Joyce said Nick Fitzger­ald, Bruce Ka­mau and Stefan Mauk de­served credit for keep­ing them out.

“I spend a lot of time talk­ing about lads who are not play­ing rather than how well Fitzy and Mauk and Bruce are go­ing,’’ Joyce said.

“These three have im­pressed me since I walked through the door. The lads have done a fan­tas­tic job in the first four games.

“When you come in with an open mind and blank can­vas, as fluid liked.”

Goal­keeper Jamie Young starred for Bris­bane, his bat­tle with Ge­orge a high­light dur­ing a match with few to re­count.

But one other high­light was in the stands, with Vic­tory’s as we would have sup­port­ers as loud as they have been in a long time.

Vic­tory’s opener came af­ter sub­sti­tute Chris­tian Theo­harous cut in from the left for Ge­orge, who laid on the as­sist for Ber­isha’s first-time shot.

Hol­man was on the spot five min­utes later to tap home from point-blank range af­ter Jack Hingert charged down the right.

Fahid Ben Khal­fal­lah, who was due to play his first game against his old club, hurt him­self in the warm-up and was re- placed just be­fore Nick D’Agostino.

Vic­tory used just the one sub, Theo­harous on for Ma­tias Sanchez in the 77th minute, but with only young­sters on the bench Muscat said it was a “judg­ment call” to trust who kick-off by Thomas; Ge­ria, Deng, Wil­liams, Ni­gro; Va­leri, Sanchez (Theo­harous 77’), Brox­ham; Ing­ham, Ge­orge, Ber­isha. Young; Hingert, Pep­per, Pa­padopou­los, O’Toole; Caletti, D’Agostino (Hol­man 65’), McKay; Skapetis (Ak­bari 82’), Bautheac (Sawyer 90+1’), Mac­carone. Wil­liams. Va­leri,

Skapetis, Pa­padopou­los, Bautheac, O’Toole.

(Roar) Could have gone to Leroy Ge­orge, but the Roar goal­keeper’s string of stun­ning saves kept his side in the hunt. was al­ready out there. “It’s not pro­tect­ing them, but hav­ing quite a few of them out on the field at the one time doesn’t help them,” he said.

“In cer­tain po­si­tions it’s a bit harder as well.”

VIC­TORY ROAR

Bris­bane Roar’s Ja­cob Pep­per tan­gles with Mel­bourne Vic­tory goalscorer Be­sart Ber­isha at Eti­had Sta­dium last night. Pic­ture: AAP Ref­eree: (4-3-3) (4-3-3) Yel­low: Yel­low: Jamie Young

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