Net worth decreases
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.”
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