Melbourne Victory’s first loss of the season came against cross-town rivals Melbourne City in the derby.
After failing to pick up maximum points two weeks in a row, Victory will be looking to bounce back against the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park.
Derbies are always special games. No-one wants to be on the losing side and unfortunately for Victory fans this was the fate they suffered last weekend.
Victory looked nowhere near their prolific goal scoring best. City’s 21 shots on goal compared with Victory’s 10 showed the lack of clear chances for the Victory up front.
It appeared that Victory were struggling to break out of defence and were stuck absorbing attack after attack from City.
Whenever they did break forward, City goalkeeper Tando Velaphi was more than alert, making many first class saves.
There were numerous talking points from the match.
Jacob Melling’s stray elbow, and the comparisons to the incident which caused Mark Milligan to receive a three match suspension, raised questions, about the consistency and standard of refereeing in the league.
Victory had a disallowed goal called for offside. It appears the last touch came off Besart Berisha but with the angle unclear it has sparked some confusion.
Victory’s defence will be bitterly disappointed to have conceded in the 91st minute – a problem the team had worked incredibly hard to remove from their game.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat confirmed Gui Finkler would be a certain starter for the clash against the Jets.
His introduction in the second half of the derby saw a much more positive Victory display, as well as a strengthened midfield.
With Finkler starting either Archie Thompson or Fahid Ben Khalfallah will be relegated to the bench.
Nick Ansell should retain his spot at centre back with Leigh Broxham continuing to fill Milligan’s place beside Carl Valeri in the defensive midfield role.
Muscat also confirmed a few other players were looking for starting XI births against the Jets such as Scott Galloway at fullback.
Friday morning saw Kevin Muscat commit to the Victory for another three years, seeing him remain as head coach until the 2017/18 season.
The vote of confidence from the Victory board is just reward for a brilliant start to the season so far.
Muscat was delighted to have his contract extended.
“To be given the opportunity to continue as Head Coach of this great Club for another three years is a great privilege and honour,” he said.
“Melbourne Victory has been a part of my life for the past 10 years and while I have been able to achieve the ultimate success as a player, it is now my responsibility to ensure I can do it as Head Coach and deliver a third A-League Championship to the Club.”