Supposedly “unlucky” Melbourne Victory have got back in the winners list, thanks to a 3-2 win over Gold Coast United in one of the most incredible matches in the A-League this season, with three penalties and a red card all adding the excitement.
Melbourne Victory got the match started with the fastest penalty award, gaining a penalty after just 35 seconds. Archie Thompson went to ground rather easily after trying to get around Paul Beekmans, but the referee fell for the ploy and pointed to the spot, allowing Harry Kewell to score his first A-League goal with a wonderfully taken penalty.
Jonas Salley nearly equalized for Gold Coast United when he put Mitch Bevan’s free-kick onto the post, the ball falling to safety.
In the 22nd minute it was 2-0 thanks to another penalty, however this time the shout was legitimate. Melbourne Victory countered quickly and left the Gold Coast defense scrambling, Salley committing a foul in the box and conceeding the penalty. Oddly it was Carlos Hernandez and not Kewell who stepped up to send the penalty home and double Victory’s advantage.
But just after half an hour the match completely turned when Roddy Vargas went in for a sickening challenge taking out Gol-Gol Mebrahtu, and while his team mates welcomed that with back slaps and high fives the referee did not have such a kind view, giving Vargas a deserved red card.
Things kept looking bad for the Victory, Leigh Broxham nearly scoring an own goal with a clearance and both Thompson and Kewell butchered golden opportunities to take the match away from the Gold Coast.
With Vargas gone, Gold Coast United were looking very dangerous down their right side, GCU won a free-kick which allowed Membrahtu an opportunity, he got into the box and tempted Diogo Ferrreria in to a poor challenge, forcing Kris Griffiths-Jones to award a stunning third penalty of the half, which Dylan Macallister duly dispatched to end the half, with a 2-1 score, all three goals coming from the spot.
Gold Coast United carried that momentum in to the second half and just two minutes after the break they were level. Ben Halloran was able to continue Fabio’s poor night as he wrongfooted the defender, and sent in a nice cross which Peter Jungschlager slotted home comfortably.
Gold Coast continued to look dangerous, Mebrahtu, who was menacing all night after the Vargas challenge sent a great shot only to see it saved by Covic who also denied Maceo Ritgers just moments earlier.
Despite all that work, Gold Coast let their guard down briefly and that was enough for Melbourne Victory as Thompson broke through and sent a good chip for Hernandez who was able to score his brace.
The drama refused to end until the final whistle, as Kristian Rees nearly levelled the scores, hitting the post before Thompson spurned two golden opportunites to add to Melbourne Victory’s lead, in the end those missed chances didn’t matter as Melbourne won the controversial match 3-2.
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