Own goal gives champs open­ing Vic­tory

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - SYD­NEY FC MELB VIC­TORY MATT WINDLEY

MEL­BOURNE Vic­tory are yet to con­cede a goal to an op­po­si­tion player this sea­son.

How­ever Kevin Mus­cat’s men still came out on the wrong side of the ledger in their A-League sea­son-opener last night, los­ing 1-0 to Syd­ney FC at Eti­had Sta­dium af­ter a sec­ond-half own goal off de­fender Thomas Deng.

It meant there would be no grand fi­nal re­venge for the Vic­tory, with Syd­ney ex­tend­ing to five their win­ning streak against their south­ern ri­vals.

The hosts, miss­ing Mark Mil­li­gan, James Troisi and Kosta Bar­barouses to in­ter­na­tional duty, put in a per­for­mance sug­gest­ing they are again likely to be one of Syd­ney’s chief ri­vals for the ti­tle, es­pe­cially when at full-strength.

Syd­ney’s Luke Wilk­shire strug­gled at times in the first half, but the for­mer Socceroos full­back was in­stru­men­tal in the goal.

His 53rd-minute cross in the di­rec­tion of Alex Brosque was pin­point.

Although Brosque could only get the slight­est of head­ers on it, the de­flec­tion was enough to throw off Deng, who watched as the ball ric­o­cheted off his shin and past a stranded Lawrence Thomas.

Wilk­shire al­most made it 2-0 four min­utes later af­ter an ex­quis­ite Mi­los Ninkovic back heel played him through, but a lung­ing Thomas save de­nied it.

Syd­ney were off the pace for the first 25 min­utes, but once they got a foot in the game Gra­ham Arnold’s team largely ap­peared in con­trol, carv­ing out the lion’s share of the gilt­edged chances and win­ning the pos­ses­sion bat­tle.

“There was very, very lit­tle in the game,” Vic­tory coack Kevin Mus­cat said.

“In the first pe­riod we creat- ed a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties where some more qual­ity in that last pass would have cre­ated a good goal scor­ing op­por­tu­nity.

“In the sec­ond half we knocked and knocked and (Syd­ney) de­fended des­per­ately be­cause they had to.”

The Vic­tory de­but of Leroy Ge­orge was a high­light.

Re­cruited pri­mar­ily as a winger, the Dutch­man was used in the No.10 role last night with Troisi away and his third-minute nut­meg of Wilk­shire had fans chant­ing “Leroy, Leroy” right away. SYD­NEY FC 1 (Thomas Deng 53m og) d MEL­BOURNE VIC­TORY 0 at Eti­had Sta­dium. Crowd: 24,804.

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