Monday, November 20, 2006

 

Battles of the Barrier Range

Although Melbourne Victory fans have a right to be aggrieved that their excellent side is likely to miss out on the next instalment of the Asian Champions' League, it's perhaps fitting that the two sides who have created the A-League's first great rivalry will represent the competition.

Yep, Melbourne v. Sydney, Melbourne v. Adelaide and Central Coast v. Newcastle might all have their attractions, but it is the Sydney v. Adelaide clashes that have provided some of the most memorable incidents of the competition in its opening two seasons.

Yesterday they were at it again, and the match didn't disappoint. It had all the ingredients we've come to expect from the "Bling versus Barrels" contests:

Good Goals

Although Sydney's defending was woeful, both the build-up play and the finish were impressive in Adelaide's ninth-minute opener. Add that one to Shengqing Qu's impeccable finish in the final game of the regular season last year, Travis Dodd's solo special in the preliminary final first leg a week later, and, last but not least, Nathan Burns's delightful goal in the first meeting between the sides this term.

Sydney were not to be outdone. Mark Rudan's tap-in resulted from an eye-catching move, and joined the likes of Alvin Ceccoli's left-foot rocket in last season's final round, Kazu's precise narrow-angled shot earlier in 2005/06, and Petrovski's finish from Benito Carbone's outrageous back-heel at Hindmarsh this season (Benny, we hardly knew ye).

It's worth adding that never has a Sydney v. Adelaide encounter in the regular season produced less than three goals - and both sides have always scored. An enviable record.

Controversy

There's always a talking point or ten after an Adelaide v. Sydney clash (and most often, it's John Kosmina doing the talking). Matthew Breeze was particularly generous in providing further grist to the universal mill this time: a questionable penalty, an unpunished back-pass, and so on.

Reminiscent of the Timpano "handling on the line" in the closing minutes of the very first encounter between the two teams last season, an incident which prompted Kosmina, in an unguarded moment witnessed by your tragic friend, to thunder "it was a f--king penalty and a f--king sendoff!"

Niggle

The all-in brawl that followed Clint Bolton's save from Fernando Rech in the second half was not the first such event at an Adelaide v. Sydney fixture. Again, it was their first battle, at Aussie Stadium, which provided the precedent.

Significance

The two sides have always been close to the top of the table, and there has always, always been something at stake. Last night, Terry Butcher's raucous celebrations on the touchline after the final whistle showed exactly what it meant to him. Two points from second place, and an apparent vindication of his risky decision to drastically alter the team, so as to accommodate those returning from injury.

Here's to plenty of incident-packed battles of the Barrier Range in the future. May they always be eagerly anticipated by fans of both clubs and neutrals alike.

Comments:
Has one side ever gotten seven yellow cards in one match before? Wow. A miracle none was later converted to red.

I don't know if those watching TV could see Bajic's bizarre excursion up the field. And in case those at the ground in the middle didn't catch it, the Cove was given Bajic some awful stick. It really rattled him, and he just wanted to get as far away as possible. He did it twice, but not as far the second time. The Cove was making itself hoarse trying to get Bolton to have a crack at goal. Bajic was almost at the halfway circle. A bizarre couple of incidents.

About the teams who wil lget the right to play in the ACL: The sooking of Melbourne fans is quite unbelievable. Whereas if Sydney is booted out of the ACL, they will have the true right to a good sook, already having actually won the A-League. I think Melbourne fans need reminding of a couple of points:
- The season is barely halfway over. A horse doesn't win the race by being in the lead halfway.
- Sydney had huge bad luck with injuries/other missing players, as well as debacles with both marquee players. Let's all see how they do in the rest of the season. Clear 2nd is my bet.
- The most 'consistent' team (i.e. the won at the top of the table pre- the finals) isn't necessarily the best team to go to a league/knock-out comp like a Champions League - that would be Sydney, which has shown it has the bottle for big games. Unlike Adelaide, and Melbourne even this season remains unproven.
 
sydney won the grand final not the A league which was won by adelaide.Pity the bottle of Sydney isn't appreciated by more Sydneysiders.Salary caps cheats getting the crowds the quality of their football deserves.
 
hey, even kossie said melbourne have won it, but as you say, it aint over till its over.Melbourne have whipped sydney's arse twice this year and deserve to go - everyone has had injuries knock thestuffing out of squads, so carping about that just shows how shallow your reasoning is. Oh, and by the way, im a mariner fan (and yeah, up to 8 of our squad have been injured at any one time).I didn't see much bottle from Sydney in Gosford.....
 
Sydney has the bottle for BIG games; they might allow Melbourne or the Central Coast to beat them in league games, but when it comes to big matches Sydney lifts its game. Unlike Adelaide, who dropped their bundle in the finals last season.

Sydney wanted to play in this year's ACL as reward for winning the 1st A-League, but were told they have to play in next year's instead. Taking that away would be incorrect. I'm all for changing the times that A-League clubs qualify for the ACL, but it has to be agreed before the season starts so the clubs know what they're playing for.

You can't say Melbourne should go to the ACL because they're doing so well halfway through this season. What if there was no clear frontrunner? Should the qualifier be the major and minor premiers, but, oh, if one team is miles ahead next season then pick them? That's just stupid.

And yeah sure, lots of clubs had injury problems, but Sydney's lack of manpower has probably been worst up until now. Melbourne and Adelaide have had the least problems, and it is Sydney that finds itself just two points behind Adelaide. Now that Sydney has got its full squad back (minus marquees) let's see if they can at least overhaul Adelaide.
 
anonymous wrote:
sydney won the grand final not the A league which was won by adelaide.

Complete and utter BOLLOCKS. I am sick and tired of hearing this. The way people are STILL bleating on about this, you'd think the FFA looked at the table at Christmas time last year and thought "Shit... Adelaide are running away with this. No one will turn up to the last couple of rounds if they know the trophy is already won. Maybe if we introduce a final series..."

Everyone knew what the score was before the season started. Adelaide were on top of the table after 21 rounds, but Sydney won the A-League. Whether you, or anyone else. likes it or not, that is a fact. It's way past time to build your bridge and get over it.
 
I normally agree with what you write Mike, and although I too am biased I think that the only reason you dont rate the sydney-melbourne games as highly is that we have had the wood over you. These games have been just as good for syd/adel games, particually if you support melbourne and have been filled with controversy.

On on the point of champions league the guy arguing sydney deserve to be there because of last year is an idiot, the champion and premier from this year deserve to be their, regardless of who they are. And as for winning the big games, they dont get much bigger than playing in front of huge crowds (at melbourne at least) against your biggest rivals and yet Sydney has only managed 1 point from 5 games, inculding a 5-0 drubbing to the worst australian team that season. ACL would be wasted on sydney where you would get a max crowd of 20k, if it was sunny and U2 or the rugby arn't on. Funny Sydney come up with all these excuses yet we can still pull a crowd of 40k during the AFL finals and at the same time storm are playing their only home final. Hopefully the AFC make the right decision and the Champions league is played in front of massive crowds of real supporters who don't go missing when things are tough , raining or there is something else on.
 
I believe that Sydney and Adelade should represent Australia at the ACL IF they become Minor premiers and Grandfinal winners THIS year. Somehow, I don't think that is going to happen. Sydney may have won the cup last year, but they are not the same teams this year as last year. Some new players and a new coach. These personel didn't earn the right as they were not with Sydney last year. It has to go on the current year, and so far Melbourne is the only team at this stage of the competition that has earnt a place as long as they can keep their momentum going
 
...I normally agree with what you write Mike, and although I too am biased I think that the only reason you dont rate the sydney-melbourne games as highly is that we have had the wood over you. These games have been just as good for syd/adel games, particually if you support melbourne and have been filled with controversy....

True enough. I suppose it (SFC v. AU) just feels like the big one to me because (a) there always seems to be so much at stake when Sydney plays Adelaide, (b) we've played them more often (three games in a row against them towards the end of last season) and so the rivalry has more of a history, so to speak, and (c) the games mostly go right down to the wire. Plus the reasons I outlined in the initial piece above.

But I'd be the last to say that SFC v. MV games have been featureless!
 
Jeez, the average IQ of the readership of this blog has taken a sharp fall.

Anyway Mikey I have to agree, my favourite encounters are Sydney v Adelaide. Getting past them in the semi's last year was epic and they always bring out our best (though I hope what I saw on Sunday was not our best).
 
brad wrote:
yet Sydney has only managed 1 point from 5 games, inculding a 5-0 drubbing to the worst australian team that season.

You tards are still crowing over that one moment of glory aren't you? Clouds the judgement of even the more intelligent of you. I'll be the first to admit that SFC's record against Melbourne could and probably should be better but we did win last Dec 2-1 at the SFS, which would make four points from five games. If you're going to play, you should get your facts straight.

roar fc supporter wrote:
Sydney may have won the cup last year, but they are not the same teams this year as last year. Some new players and a new coach. These personel didn't earn the right as they were not with Sydney last year.

So... if SFC and AUFC did manage to get a spot this year, they should only be fielding players that were part of the GF winning squad last year? It's a particularly ridiculous argument you make, especially considering the only new players in the SFC squad that haven't "earnt the right" are Alex Brosque (started on the bench on Sunday) and Jeremy Brockie (not even in the squad). What are they going to do about the coach?

For the record, I think the decision is stupid, and the spots should go to the premiers and champions from this season, and while I'll enjoy the fact that SFC are there, I'd rather it be because we won something this year rather than living off last year's efforts.
 
Melbourne Vs. Sydney 40k at Telstra Dome.
Melbourne Vs. Adelaide 32k at Telstra Dome
Sydney Vs. Adelaide 14K at Aussie Stadium.

Enough said.
Even at Olympic park Melb-Adelaide start of the season 15k

That there is even an argument about this is astounding, Melbourne gets 3 times as many people to a Melb Sydney and twice as much to a Melb Adelaide, How many more people Melbourne needs to get before you change your mind?

Maybe after the Adelaide-Melbourne match brings a lot more people than Sydney you will come to terms with it.

The Sydney crowds this year are an absolute disgrace.
 
...Melbourne Vs. Sydney 40k at Telstra Dome.
Melbourne Vs. Adelaide 32k at Telstra Dome
Sydney Vs. Adelaide 14K at Aussie Stadium.

Enough said.
Even at Olympic park Melb-Adelaide start of the season 15k...

Who said anything about the crowds?!?
 
You are right you did not talk about the crowds. I over-reacted because I read two articles in The World Game that call the Sydney-Adelaide "the more intense rivalry" and then your post in which you say that it is somehow fitting that Sydney and Adelaide will represent Australia and got very irritated.

However intense your rivalry is I cannot understand why it makes it fitting that Sydney should represent Australia.

Melbourne has the best team, and the best crowds by far. Sydney simply does not compare at the moment on and of the field surely it would be more appropiate if Melbourne represented Australia this year?

I did over-react and you were not talking about crowds (altghough i cannot help but wonder how intense can a rivalry that brings only 14k people to the ground be) so I apologise.
 
Magnum said:
"they might allow Melbourne or the Central Coast to beat them in league games, but when it comes to big matches Sydney lifts its game"

So teams allow other teams to win magnum? See you in two weeks loser...
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
Bloody corrupt Frank "Sydney" Lowy isnt going to appeal the AFC's decision! I wonder why?
 
Bloody corrupt Frank "Sydney" Lowy isnt going to appeal the AFC's decision! I wonder why?

You said what I was thinking Anonymous.

I'm nearly finished Andrew Jenning's book Foul! The Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals, and not only will nothing again surprise me about the higher levels of football politics, but I am left struggling to comprehend how anyone could attain such position without being corrupt.

And frankly, there is nothing rational about the AFC's decision, especially as it apparently comes with a proviso that things will be different in the future. Albeit with no evidence whatsoever, the decision stinks of something.
 
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