Saturday, February 09, 2008
There was the first-half sendoff; unlike Alex Brosque a year ago, who was simply foolish, Robbie Middleby found himself the sacrificial lamb after Sydney had collectively taken far too long to realise that a dangerous counter-attack was in progress. He misjudged his 50-50 with Matt McKay, was unable to pull out of the challenge in time (although sticking his foot out was a little unwise), and went off under the often infuriating "last-man" rule. In truth, Sydney could have few complaints.
There were the relentless long balls in search of Alex Brosque, left alone at the point of the attack as he was by Terry Butcher for the latter part of last season. A tactic that was successful against the Central Coast and Adelaide proved fruitless this time, thanks largely to the aerial prowess of Sasa Ognenovski.
There was the poor use of the bench by the manager; Santalab and Biddle certainly needed to be introduced, but removing Sydney's main goalscorer, out of form though he may have been, to make way for the former was inexplicable. And Biddle simply arrived too late.
There was the absence of a key player, although it was in a different area this time. Last year, you may recall, the absence of Sydney's midfield terrier, Terry McFlynn, enabled Newcastle to boss that sector of the park completely; this time, no Juninho meant little wit in a creative sense, with Steve Corica lacking support and Ruben Zadkovich working hard but wasting the final ball.
There was the flattering result. Newcastle could easily have won by five or six in the minor semi second-leg of 2006/07, and Queensland should really have put a seal on the match in the first half last night; with Robbie Kruse constantly getting in behind the defence on Queensland's right and Sydney giving away possession in midfield monotonously, there should have been many more goals for the team in orange. But Kruse's cutbacks were largely off-beam, and Queensland's composure in the box left much to be desired.
And lastly, there was the spat at the end. This time it was two players rather than the captain and the manager, but the frustration at such an inept performance, and such a miserable end to an emotional season, had its inevitable effect in the unseemly row between Clint Bolton and Adam Biddle.
Having said all that: congratulations to Queensland for making it through to the preliminary final. They weren't at their best, but ultimately they did better than Sydney FC in every department. And Frank Farina deserves credit for his influential substitution of Tahj Minniecon for a tiring, ineffective Zullo.
Over the next week or so I'll be penning a review of Sydney FC's season as I did last year, by stages of the season rather than by player this time (I'll need some help for the period I missed).
and there was another interesting moment when Milligan was substituted...seemed to have a debate with Kossie as to why he was replaced and then proceeded to not like the answer...that was my take.
While some players improved a bit under kosmina, milligan went backwards. Europe beckons you reckon?
It's parallel to Australians hating the English in sport, because Queensland is of course a colony of New South Wales. I'm never certain whether the depth of competitive feeling is mutual, but the colony seems to live to defeat Daddy.
This is just by way of introduction to saying that Jacob was mightily pissed off that you guys got the 'consolation prize' of competing against American and Asian teams in Hawaii. He actually expressed that we should have lost (I'm sure he didn't mean it).
The real point of all this is to say good luck in the Pan Pacific Championships.
I thought so after the Asian Cup, but he's made so many mistakes lately (and I even missed a few A-League weeks where people told me he'd been pretty fallible too). He's the new Hayden Foxe in many ways.
...The real point of all this is to say good luck in the Pan Pacific Championships....
It's an absolute Mickey Mouse competition, but beggars have to be grateful for the scraps they're given, shall we say. ;-)
Good luck in the Prelim final.
1. When it's in the penalty area I don't think it should be a red...the penalty is punishment enough, unless the foul was particularly violent or cynical.
2. Too often refs seem to think that "last man" is the only issue, when it isn't. The player has to be heading towards goal and there has to be a clear goalscoring opportunity. Both are fairly subjective criteria and I tend to think that if in any doubt (particularly if the foul did not appear premeditated) the ref should keep it to a yellow. But they never do.