Saturday, February 28, 2009
A Night of Ironies
Did they deserve to win this evening's game? It's hard to say, given the imbalance that was created so early on, but over the course of the season they have been perhaps the most consistent side.
The first of the intriguing points in a night rich in ironies was that Adelaide, who have displayed such an inferiority complex against Melbourne this season, held out so stoutly with ten men. Yet there was a reason for this: with their numerical deficit, Adelaide's men dropped deep, deep behind the half-way line, and Melbourne, whose basic modus operandi (despite Ernie Merrick's protestations to the contrary) remains counter-attack, were surprisingly stifled.
Their old problem, lack of width, was starkly apparent in the first half. Matthew Kemp, now granted the chance to appear in a grand final, got forward down the left occasionally, but his delivery into the box was terrible. And there was no Fred to peel off to the right and penetrate on that side, as there was in 2006/07. It didn't help that Billy Celeski's delivery from set-pieces was so mediocre, either.
Merrick made the undoubtedly correct change, with Evan Berger replacing Nick Ward (why was he starting, given his dismal form?) while Kemp moved over to the right. Yet Adelaide had clearly gained heart from their successful stonewalling act in the first period, and crafted two good chances in quick succession after the restart. When Daniel Mullen, up from the back, went on his inspired right-wing run shortly after the break, it looked as if the tide had turned.
The next irony: just when Adelaide appeared to have the hosts seriously rattled, came the goal. Eugene Galekovic, who had a superb season, must take some of the blame for the goal, but not too much, given that he was badly unsighted by Jonas Salley and Carlos Hernandez. And Tom Pondeljak, veteran of plenty of grand finals yet often a bit-part player therein, was the archetypal unlikely scorer.
After Danny Allsopp's dismissal, the game degenerated into warfare. Aurelio Vidmar was perhaps regretting the fact that his only attacking option from the bench was the hapless Paul Agostino, rather than the latterly in-form Robbie Younis. There's surely a story to be told there...perhaps yet more politics in the mysterious world of Adelaide United.
So then: the officiating.
Anyone who has been following the league closely this term would know that Srebre Delovski has been far and away the most impressive and consistent referee, as Tony Tannous has hinted in his excellent match commentary. Yet the league's top brass, with cuckoo-clock predictability, gave the whistle in the season's most important match to Matthew Breeze, despite his patent, amply-proven inadequacy, especially in finals matches. One could say they got what they deserved.
The red card given to Cristiano was simply ludicrous. One wonders whether Breeze or his assistant have ever played the game, given that a bit of elbow thrust is absolutely normal when going up for a header (as any park footballer would know). Allsopp? It was hard to tell from the footage available on Fox, but the contact looked fairly trivial. Certainly not as serious as Jade North's headbutt of Iain Fyfe, right in front of Breeze's eyes, in the minor semi-final of 2006/07. North was, of course, not sanctioned.
In the event, the game opened up nicely in the second period, but Breeze subsequently lost control again, and a bad-tempered conclusion was the result. Can we please have a decent referee for next year's competition showpiece?
It certainly shows a lot that the PFA, the players union rated Delovski as the best referee of the year but somehow FFA gave Breeze the award and believes he is hte best job for the final. One wonders about the politics involve there.
However referee mistake or not. Adelaide has to look at this match with a bit of regret. They had created the better chance this match with less men then melbourne and couldn't put it away. Agostino must be livid in missing that superb cross from Cassio. Jamieson, dodd and salley should be regretting their miss as well.
What's happening to Robbie Younis? - he is currently trialing in china and has been doing that since the finals started
Ah, OK. But why would they release him for that with the finals on? He is under contract, after all. Weird.
salley spends most of the season on the sidelines. valkanis gets a game. younis let go before the finals are finished. cassio starts the GF on the bench ...
without a couple of these weird decisions they could have taken the prem`s plate methinks ...
Watch the replay, 1. after Sasa Og is booked - Eugene points Breeze in the chest. 2. Just before the decision to send off Allsopp, there Eugene is banging on Breeze's chest.
Ask Danny what his hand tap did for his career...
I just don't see what the fuss is about. The Roar have chopped bad ref decisions through its history. A number of times of favour of Adelaide. Now Vidmar wants a video ref.
Also, Pondeljak as man of the match? Laughable.