Melbourne Victory 4 (McGing OG 29’, Donachie 50’, Rojas 58’ & 59’) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Buhagiar 89’)
The Run Down
The Central Coast Mariners have fallen 4-1 to Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park but it was a night to remember for Trent Buhagiar who scored his maiden Hyundai A-League goal as a second half substitute.
It was a scorching night at Melbourne’s AAMI Park which made for testing conditions in Hyundai A-League round 12 between the Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory.
The early duel started on the right wing of Marco Rojas who had Mickey Neill in his sights but our left back did well for the first 45 minutes to keep him at bay in attack.
Victory had their share of the chances in the first half but the Mariners stood strong in defence to deny the home side, only to concede a deflected Besart Berisha shot.
The second half saw Victory come to life and capitalise on key mistakes in crucial areas by the Mariners, allowing Muscat’s men to score three in second stanza.
Before the hour mark Kiwi-attacker, Marco Rojas had a brace and James Donachie had his first goal for Melbourne Victory from a James Troisi set piece.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Mariners and the travelling Mariners contingent were given a small reward when fan favourite, Trent Buhagiar scored his maiden Hyundai A-League goal with a tidy finish past Lawrence Thomas.
Buhagiar controlled a precision Nick Montomgery long range pass and did very well to lob his shot over the head of Thomas for a consolation goal in the dying stages.
Full attention now turns to the club’s New Year’s Eve blockbuster at Central Coast Stadium where the Mariners will host Tim Cahill’s Melbourne City.
29’ McGING OWN GOAL: After picking up possession on the left wing, Fahid Ben Khalfallah played the ball in to a charging Berisha. Berisha took his shot that deflected off McGing, giving Izzo no chance in goals.
51’ DONACHIE GOAL: It was a set piece that extended Victory’s lead over the Mariners that was delivered by Troisi. Troisi’s cross landed on the head of Donachie who headed home from close range.
58’ ROJAS GOAL: Ben Khalfallah was the creator of both Rojas’ goals, the first saw the Tunisian charge into the box and play the Kiwi winger who had nothing more to do than pass into an open net
59’ ROJAS GOAL (2): The second goal for Rojas was the result of a splitting pass down the middle of the pitch that hit the feet of Rojas who still had plenty to do. Rojas ended up in the Mariners box and fired passed Izzo in a one-on-one opportunity.
89’ BUHAGIAR GOAL: What a moment it was for Trent Buhagiar! The young attacker has been causing problems for every back four he’s come up against this season and tonight he claimed his reward with a goal against Melbourne Victory. Nick Montgomery played a precision ball to the feet of Buhagiar who did well to control and lob Lawrence Thomas with a classy finish.
Paolo in the press
“Look, at 2-0 we had a chance to make it 2-1, we don’t score the Victory go up the other end and score a training ground goal – then it becomes even more difficult,” Okon said.
“I think we were good in the first half, we gave away the ball too much and allowed Victory to transition and we saw in the second half when we do that how they can punish you.
“There’s always positives to take from a game and there’s always things you can work on, to be honest I don’t think it was a 4-1 game. I don’t remember Izzo having to make a save other than the shot in the first half.
“I’ve said it all season but unfortunately we continue to do it, if we keep making basic mistakes, giving the ball away then defending we’re going to give away goals and we’re going to struggle to win football games, tonight that was the case.
“We need to move forward, we’ve got a game on New Year’s Eve against Melbourne City – there’s a lot of belief and confidence in the group, we’re going to continue to play that type of football moving forward because if I’m in charge that’s the ony type of football that I know.
“It’s not our playing style that’s the reason we’re conceding goals it’s mistakes and if you’re going to continue to make them, especially like teams with the quality of Melbourne Victory then they can put a few goals on you and that’s what happened tonight.
“The players effort is phenomenal and that’s the minimum, the minimum is the effort. Unfortunately, when we make mistakes we get punished for it and that’s where we’re at the moment.
“At the start it was about getting the team to play a certain way which I think we’re doing but now we need to continue to improve and along the way there’s going to be moments like tonight where we concede goals where we shouldn’t.
“Trent’s an exciting young player, he’s got plenty of speed and he took his finish magnificently, I’m happy for the boy. It’s his first A-League goal, it would be nice for him if it won us a game or salvage a point but he’s certainly a player the club will look to in the future.
“We have to be realistic where the club sits financially to other clubs but it’s about making sure the club has longevity and maybe that’s hurting us a bit at the moment but we certainly won’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got a short turnaround, Melbourne City on Saturday so we’ll prepare for that as best as we can," Okon said.
Melbourne Victory FC: 2.Jason GERIA, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Marco ROJAS (23.Jai INGHAM 63’), 8.Besart BERISHA (9.Max BEISTER 76’), 10.James TROISI (5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI 73’), 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 17.James DONACHIE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c)
Substitutes not used: 40.Matt ACTON (gk), 4.Nick ANSELL
Yellow cards: Donachie 14’ & Geria 17’
Central Coast Mariners: 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 22.Jake McGING, 19.Jacques FATY,
21.Michael NEILL, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 16.Liam ROSE (14.Adam BERRY 63’), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 6.Blake POWELL, 7.Fabio FERREIRA (13.Kwabena APPIAH 63’), 11.Connor PAIN (12.Trent BUHAGIAR 63’), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN
Substitutes not used: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 5.Harry ASCROFT
Yellow cards: Montgomery 45’ & Pain 45+3''
Wednesday 28 December, 2016
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Melbourne Victory vs. Central Coast Mariners
Referee: Adam Fielding