Hyundai A-League season 2016/2017 review: Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory fell in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final to Sydney FC on penalties.

Melbourne Victory fell in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final to Sydney FC on penalties.

With just 20 minutes between them and a fourth Championship, Melbourne Victory will look back on the 2016/17 campaign with heavy hearts. We examine their campaign and look ahead to the 2017/18 season.

Position: 2nd, beaten grand finalists

Record: Played 29, Won 16, Drawn 5, Lost 8

Goals: 51

Conceded: 32

Leading Goal Scorer: Besart Berisha (21)

Best home crowd: 43,188 – Round 2 against Melbourne City

Star performer: Besart Berisha

It was yet another double-figure goal season – a sixth in succession – for a striker who is simply unparalleled in his quest for goals and goal-scoring records. His 21 this season matched his best-ever season tally and along the way he passed Archie Thompson at the top of the all-time Hyundai A-League list before becoming the first player to chalk up 100 goals.

Besart Berisha celebrates after opening the scoring for Victory in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

What can’t be ignored – and what sits behind the incredible numbers he continues to put up – is the tireless work the Kosovo international puts in to create chances for himself and others. Given the choice of any player in the competition, most (if not all) of the other coaches would poach ‘Bes’ before anyone else.

Breakout player: Lawrence Thomas

Being the number two goalkeeper must be one of the most thankless tasks in football – sitting on the bench each week, but rarely getting the chance to play.

Thomas Broich will depart Brisbane Roar at season's end.

After a mere 21 games in his previous five seasons and biding his time behind the likes of Ante Covic, Nathan Coe and Danny Vukovic, Thomas finally got his chance to shine and grabbed it with both of his very safe hands, putting in a series of excellent performances and forming a crucial part of Victory’s defence.

Goal of the year: Marco Rojas

Everyone remembers Tim Cahill’s goal in the season’s first derby, but the “Kiwi Messi” scored an equally eye-catching goal in the same game.

Victory star Marco Rojas celebrates with Besart Berisha after scoring the opener in their win over Adelaide United.At 3-0 down, he collected the ball on the edge of the penalty area and with dazzling footwork weaved his way between four defenders before calmly sliding the ball under Dean Bouzanis to pull one back for Victory. It was a memorable moment on an otherwise forgettable night for the Big V.

Highlight: Nine-game purple patch

A round five loss to Sydney FC dropped Victory out of the top four for what would eventually be the final time in 2016/17. From there, they went on an unbeaten nine-game streak (which included eight wins), scoring 24 goals and conceding just seven.

Victory's Marco Rojas, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and James Troisi celebrate a goal against Glory on Saturday night.

Besart Berisha netted eight goals in that streak but the scoring load was well and truly shared around with Max Beister, Fahid Ben Khalfallah, James Troisi, Marco Rojas, James Donachie and Oliver Bozanic all on the scoresheet in that stretch of games. Most satisfying was the round ten derby win, which put to bed the humiliating 4-1 loss in round two.

Lowlight: Grand Final heartbreak

Simply making the grand final would be enough for some clubs, but not the three-time champions. The fact they outplayed (and outmuscled) Sydney FC in the first half and took a deserved lead before the Sky Blues came roaring back to equalise would make it even tougher to accept.

Melbourne Victory star Besart Berisha felt his side was unlucky to lose the A-League grand final to Sydney FC.

Victory also came within inches of winning the game in extra-time when James Troisi’s precise effort agonizingly hit the inside of the post and rebounded away. Once a game goes to penalties it’s very much fifty-fifty with Carl Valeri and Marco Rojas failing to convert to leave Victory just short.

What they need:

The single biggest retention issue for Victory is James Troisi. The Caltex Socceroo was a massive part of their success in 2016/17 and he’ll need to be offered an improved deal to stay for another season and beyond.

Melbourne Victory star James  Troisi is back in the Caltex Socceroos squad for the first time since 2015.If he can be retained, there really aren’t any other gaping holes in the roster, although building depth to cover the departures of some squad players may be in order. A couple of attackers and a left-back would also be helpful.

Acquisitions for next season:

Rhys Williams, Thomas Deng.

Losses for next season:

Daniel Georgievski, Rashid Mahazi, Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Nick Ansell, Alan Baro, Alastair Bray, George Howard, Lucas Spinella.

Outlook for 2017/18:

The way 2016/17 ended will sting, and there’s no more dangerous animal than a wounded Kevin Muscat, who will spend the next few months plotting the downfall of Sydney FC and an elusive fourth championship for his own side. The retention of the vast majority of his squad, as well as the acquisition of the excellent Rhys Williams will ensure Victory are again the Sky Blues’ closest challengers for the title in 2017/18.

Rhys Williams has signed with Melbourne Victory after departing Perth Glory.

 

Source : Football Federation Australia

Melbourne Victory’s ‘gut-wrenching’ loss: Kevin Muscat

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat described his side's dramatic loss in Sunday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final as "gut-wrenching".

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Chris Myson
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat described his side’s dramatic loss in Sunday’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final as “gut-wrenching” and insists it was undeserved.

Victory came into the final as massive underdogs after hosts Sydney FC had dominated the regular season, finishing 17 points clear.

But Muscat’s men seized the lead through Besart Berisha and ultimately took the match all the way to penalties, where they lost 4-2 after 120 minutes of action had finished in a 1-1 draw.

And the Victory boss felt his players had done enough to earn a shock victory, with James Troisi having hit the post in extra time.

Besart Berisha celebrates after opening the scoring for Victory in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.“I can cope most things, but to walk in there now and see the looks on their faces with the amount of effort they played with, to come in and outplay Sydney for long periods of the game, we were spot on with what we did,” Muscat told Fox Sports.

“The execution of what we asked the players to do was spot on and sometimes you have got to try and explain to them how they lost the match and this is one of those occasions because that group of boys didn’t deserve to lose.
He continued: “I can take it, but I’m just bitterly disappointed for the players. That is the gut-wrenching thing for me, looking the players in the eye and somehow explaining to them how they have lost.

“It was an unbelievable effort from our team. They worked so hard coming into a cauldron like this, where no one gave us a sniff or a chance of winning and we were only an inch away in the end to winning.

“Some pieces of luck just didn’t go our way and it could have been so different, but that’s life, that’s football. It’s hard to find the words. They didn’t deserve to lose that.”

 

Source : Football Federation Australia

Hyundai A-League 2017 Grand Final pre-match guide

Powerhouses Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory collide in a worthy climax to the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Staff Writer
Powerhouses Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory collide in a worthy climax to the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season.

Will the Sky Blues from Sydney complete their all-conquering campaign or can Melbourne Victory trip them up at the final hurdle and win a fourth Championship?

MATCH DETAILS

Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Sunday 7 May
Allianz Stadium
Gates Open – 3.00pm (AEST)
Kick Off – 5.00pm (AEST)

PRECINCT ACTIVITIES

Fans are strongly encouraged to enjoy the hype of the Hyundai A-League 2017 Grand Final and arrive at the precinct early before the AFL finishes at around 3.40pm.

• Get your photo taken with the Hyundai A-League trophy
• See if you can ‘ Beat Bozza ‘ at the Hyundai Fan Van!
• Test your football skills out with Snooker feet
• Take home a photo of you and your mates in the photo booth
• Let the on-site DJ get you in the mood before the game
• Grab your NAB thundersticks and make some noise!
• Plus much, much more!

TRANSPORT TO AND FROM THE GAME

Allianz Stadium opens its gates at 3.00pm, with buses from Central running as early as 2.30pm to get fans there in time. Avoid the traffic delays by leaving the car at home and catching public transport – travel is included in match tickets .

Significant delays are expected in the area from 3.30pm due to the large crowd crossovers, so allow plenty of additional time getting into the precinct.

Click here for information on how to get to Allianz Stadium.

Don’t forget to join us tomorrow (Saturday 6 May) at the Hyundai A-League Grand Final Saturday Fan Day at the Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park.

Fans are strongly encouraged to enjoy the hype of the Hyundai A-League 2017 Grand Final and arrive at the precinct early before the AFL finishes at around 3.40pm.

Sydney FC will play Melbourne Victory in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Grand Final.

 

Source : Football Federation Australia Website

Sydney FC ‘vulnerable’ claims Melbourne Victory attacker James Troisi

Victory playmaker James Troisi denies Sydney FC's defence is impenetrable ahead of Sunday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Michael Huguenin
Sydney FC’s defence has set all kinds of records this season but Melbourne Victory attacking midfielder James Troisi insists the Sky Blues are “vulnerable” ahead of the Hyundai A-League grand final.

With Danny Vukovic shining between the posts and a consistently solid back four in front of him, Sydney conceded just 12 goals in the 27-round regular season, while their clean sheet against Perth Glory in the semi-finals was an unprecedented 17th.

In three previous meetings this term, Sydney have beaten Victory 2-1, 2-1 and 1-0 but Troisi insists his team showed enough in those games to indicate they will threaten the premiers at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
TROISI TALKS UP VICTORY’S CHANCES

“I don’t think it’s impenetrable,” Troisi said on Wednesday, when asked how Victory can break down Sydney’s defence.

“If you look at all our games [against Sydney], we had quite a lot of opportunities. Especially the last game we played them, we just couldn’t take those opportunities.

“So they are vulnerable and obviously we want to be switched on defensively.

Sydney have faced an average of 8.54 shots per game this season, with 3.1 on target.

James Troisi celebrates scoring Victory's fourth goal against Perth on Saturday night.In Victory’s most recent loss to Sydney in March, Troisi and Co. managed just six shots and only two were on target.

But in the other two defeats in January and November, Victory opened the scoring and produced an above-average number of shots against the Sky Blues, although they only surpassed the on-target average in the Big Blue on Australia Day at Etihad Stadium.

Troisi scored the opener in January but goals to Filip Holosko and Bernie Ibini saw Sydney triumph.
VICTORY RULE SHOT CONVERSION

Victory have the best shot conversion in the competition in 2016/17 with 18.9 per cent of their shots ending in goals, while Sydney (17.4%) are third in that statistic.

Sydney are generally more accurate than Kevin Muscat’s men, however, with the Sky Blues testing the opposition goalkeeper 49.1 per cent of the time – behind only Wellington Phoenix (51%).

Victory (46%) are seventh in the A-League for shot accuracy.

Victory striker Besart Berisha found the net in his side's 2-1 win over Melbourne City.

“I think that was one of the most impressive things about the Brisbane game,” added the recently recalled Caltex Socceroo.

“Defensively we were fantastic and they didn’t really cause use much trouble.

“With our attacking line and with the support of our defence and our midfield, we’re definitely going to create chances.

“So it’s going to be a good game.”

Sydney FC will play Melbourne Victory in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Grand Final. 

Source : Football Federation Australia

Hyundai Ins & Outs – Grand Final

Which team will be crowned champion when Sydney FC hosts Melbourne Victory in Sunday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final?

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Staff writer
Which team will be crowned champion when Sydney FC hosts Melbourne Victory in Sunday’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final? See the squads for both teams right here.

Hyundai A-League 2017 Grand Final – Ins and Outs

Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Kick-Off: 5:00pm (AEST)

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Assistant Referee 1: David Walsh

Assistant Referee 2: Matthew Cream

Fourth Official: Peter Green

Fifth Official: Owen Goldrick

Video Assistant Referee: Strebre Delovski

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 4.00pm (AEST) and delayed coverage on SBS VICELAND from 5.30pm AEST

Radio Broadcast: ABC News (on Radio), ABC Digital Extra, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio), 1116 SEN (Melbourne), EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com)

Seb Ryall and Fahid Ben Khalfallah fight for the ball during the Big Blue.

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ALeagueGF

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au

Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 6.Joshua BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.George BLACKWOOD, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 22.Seb RYALL, 23.Rhyan GRANT

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 19.George BLACKWOOD (promoted), 22.Seb RYALL (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Marco ROJAS, 8.Besart BERISHA, 10.James TROISI, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.James DONACHIE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Stefan NIGRO, 23.Jai INGHAM, 40.Matt ACTON (gk)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 19.George HOWARD (promoted), 22.Stefan NIGRO (promoted)

Melbourne Victory stalwart Leigh Broxham is bracing himself for a tough challenge against the in-form Wanderers on Saturday night.Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

Sydney FC will play Melbourne Victory in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Grand Final.

Source : Football Federation Australia

 

Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory : 8 key grand final stats

Melbourne Victory winger Marco Rojas and Sydney FC playmaker Milos Ninkovic.

Melbourne Victory winger Marco Rojas and Sydney FC playmaker Milos Ninkovic.

The Hyundai A-League grand final will feature a clash of the assist-kings.

Sydney FC playmaker Milos Ninkovic and Victory star Marco Rojas have each laid on 11 goals for their team-mates this season, three more than any other player in the competition.

Check out these and other Opta stats ahead of Sunday’s blockbuster Big Blue.

 

· Sydney FC have won their last three games against Victory; at no point in the 41-game history between these sides has either team won four consecutive games.

· Melbourne Victory are undefeated against Sydney FC in five finals clashes, including a 3-0 win when these teams met in the 2015 grand final; that was only time either side has kept a post-season clean sheet against the other.

 

Archie Thompson is tipping Besart Berisha to notch his 100th Hyundai A-League goal against Sydney FC this weekend.· Sydney FC will be looking to make it the fourth consecutive A-League season where the Premiers have gone on to win the Grand Final, a scenario which has played out in seven of the 11 A-League seasons.

· Melbourne Victory have won just one of their seven away finals games and have lost their last four such fixtures, scoring just one goal in those four games.

· Sydney FC have kept 17 clean sheets this season, eight more than any other team, though only two of the last seven Hyundai A-League Grand Finals have seen either side keep a clean sheet.

 

Keeper: Danny Vukovic (Sydney FC)· Melbourne Victory have scored 13 goals in the final 15 minutes of games this season, more than any other team.

· No player has contested more duels than Sydney FC striker Bobô this season; his 408 gives him a seven-duel lead over next-best, Victory attacker James Troisi.

 

Sydney FC will play Melbourne Victory in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Grand Final. 

Source : Football Federation Australia

Hyundai A-League Grand Final preview: Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory

Premiers Sydney FC host Melbourne Victory in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Grand Final at Allianz Stadium.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Jason Pine @pineyzb
Two powerhouses collide in a worthy climax to the 2016/17 Hyundai A-League season. Will the Sky Blues from Sydney complete their all-conquering campaign or can Melbourne Victory trip them up at the final hurdle and win a fourth Championship?

MATCH DETAILS

Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Kick-Off: 5:00pm (AEST)

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Assistant Referee 1: David Walsh

Assistant Referee 2: Matthew Cream

Fourth Official: Peter Green

Fifth Official: Owen Goldrick

Video Assistant Referee: Strebre Delovski

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 4.00pm (AEST) and delayed coverage on SBS VICELAND from 5.30pm AEST

Radio Broadcast: ABC News (on Radio), ABC Digital Extra, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio), 1116 SEN (Melbourne), EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com)

Sydney FC flyer Bernie Ibini is in doubt for Sunday's grand final against Melbourne Victory due to a hamstring injury.

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ALeagueGF

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au

Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 6.Joshua BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.George BLACKWOOD, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 22.Seb RYALL, 23.Rhyan GRANT **two to be omitted**

Ins: 19.George BLACKWOOD (promoted), 22.Seb RYALL (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Marco ROJAS, 8.Besart BERISHA, 10.James TROISI, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.James DONACHIE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Stefan NIGRO, 23.Jai INGHAM, 40.Matt ACTON (GK) **two to be omitted**

Melbourne Victory's Spanish defender Alan Baro has given the Hyundai A-League Finals Series system the thumbs up.

Ins: 19.George HOWARD (promoted), 22.Stefan NIGRO (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

After their record-breaking season, it would be only fitting for Sydney FC to complete the job and lift the championship trophy on Sunday evening.

They’ve left the others in their wake, breaking all manner of Hyundai A-League records and setting new standards on and off the field.

Everything points to a 22nd win in 29 games for Graham Arnold’s side, and their comfortable victory over Perth Glory in last weekend’s semi-final only strengthened their credentials in the eyes of many.

In fact, it’s hard to find any neutral observers who think Victory might win, but the fact remains they definitely have the players to do so.

Nine of their likely match-day squad have previous grand final experience, including Besart Berisha who will play in his fourth, having never lost one.

Besart Berisha was the hero for Melbourne Victory in their semi final win over Brisbane Roar.

The Kosovo international simply doesn’t know the meaning of the word “lose” and will do everything in his power to combine with his dangerous attacking comrades to lower Sydney’s colours.

The Sky Blues though have been simply imperious, and their 3-0 semi-final win over Glory on Saturday was the eleventh time they’ve scored three or more goals in a game this season; their front-third capability is quite frankly frightening.

With so much attacking firepower at the disposal of both coaches, it might well be the tighter defence that makes the difference.

Sydney FC have been unmatchable in that regard, keeping an astonishing 17 clean sheets and conceding just 12 goals in 42 hours of football.

Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic is the best in the land and he and three of his back four – Alex Wilkinson, Rhyan Grant and Michael Zullo – were recognised in the PFA Team of the Season announced this week.

Danny Vukovic was outstanding in Sydney FC's 4-1 win over Perth Glory.

Whichever way you look at it, the two best sides have reached the Big Show.

A classic climax awaits.

OPTA DATA

· Sydney FC have won their last three games against Victory; at no point in the 41-game history between these sides has either team won four consecutive games.

· Melbourne Victory are undefeated against Sydney FC in five finals clashes, including a 3-0 win when these teams met in the 2015 grand final; that was only time either side has kept a post-season clean sheet against the other.

· Sydney FC will be looking to make it the fourth consecutive A-League season where the Premiers have gone on to win the Grand Final, a scenario which has played out in seven of the 11 A-League seasons.

· Melbourne Victory have scored 13 goals in the final 15 minutes of games this season, more than any other team.

· Both Sydney FC’s Milos Ninkovic and Victory’s Marco Rojas have provided 11 assists this season, three more than any other player.

ROUTE TO GOAL

Goals win games and these two teams have certainly exhibited their firepower in 2016/17, winning 37 of their combined 56 matches.

Both have topped 50 goals this season and have some of the most exciting strikers in Hyundai A-League history among their ranks.

Melbourne Victory’s main man is, of course, Besart Berisha.

He’s netted 20 goals this season and needs just two more to equal Victory legend Archie Thompson’s finals record of ten, half of which came in the 2006/07 grand final demolition of Adelaide United.

Berisha blends a burning desire to win with an unquenchable thirst for goals, making him the most potent striker in the 12-year history of the Hyundai A-League.

Alongside Berisha, the “Kiwi Messi” has had a spectacular return to the competition, with Marco Rojas mixing a dozen goals with 11 assists; he’s absolutely capable of the spectacular match-turning moment which might prove decisive in such a big game.

Victory's Marco Rojas, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and James Troisi celebrate a goal against Glory on Saturday night.

The support cast includes Fahid Ben Khalfallah in his last game for the Big V and Caltex Socceroo James Troisi.

As front-fours go, it’s about as exciting as it gets.

Sydney FC’s 2016/17 version of the “Killer B’s” has comprised brilliant Brazilian Bobo and effervescent skipper Alex Brosque, who have combined for 26 goals this season.

Bobo has brought the talent and experience gained from over a dozen years of top-flight football in his homeland and Turkey, while Brosque has enjoyed a stellar goalscoring season, reaching double figures for the first time.

While not quite as prolific, Slovakian Filip Holosko has been every bit as important, chipping in with crucial strikes and working tirelessly in the front third.

Providing the ammunition has been the competition’s best player, the sublime Serbian Milos Ninkovic, whose ability to unlock defences and create chances for his team-mates has been unrivalled in the past 30 weeks.

Sydney FC skipper Alex Brosque celebrates the opening goal in the win over Melbourne City.

So, who do you fancy?

Berisha, Rojas, Ben Khalfallah and Troisi?

Or Bobo, Brosque, Holosko and Ninkovic?

Regardless of whose side you fall on, the array of attacking talent on display is mouth-watering.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK?

Serbian superstar Milos Ninkovic was a popular winner of the Johnny Warren Medal on Monday night.

FORM LINES (last five games)

Sydney FC: WWDWW

Melbourne Victory: LLDWW

PREDICTION

Sydney FC 2 Melbourne Victory 1

Sydney FC will play Melbourne Victory in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Grand Final.

 

Source : Football Federation Australia