Friday, February 02, 2007

The A-League Finals: Newcastle vs Sydney

First things first:

For the first goal, I thought Griffiths was taking too much time and that a defender would close in on him before a shot could be released. Thankfully my fears weren’t realised.

The second goal had two elements to it worth mentioning. First was the cross to the goal-box. For once, the ball was cut in, played low and away from the ‘keeper. Finally. All night the ball had come from the right side of play directly to Bolton. He’s too good a ‘keeper to fumble a ball. The second element was Coveny. He was in the box, only loosely marked and as soon as he saw that Griffiths had a chance to win the ball, Coveny made his way closer to goal. He successfully got goal-side at the moment the ball reached him, and Bolton had no chance. And that, boys and girls, is how you beat a good ‘keeper…

When the match started, and Sydney had a chance with Milligan I thought, here we go again. Last week Newcastle were defensively very poor. They could not combat Sydney’s aerial attack in any way, shape or form. A few minutes in, and it was happening again. What the hell were they working on during the week at training? It was nice to see Sydney playing to win though, compared to the tripe that Merrick came up with last week – if Merrick had been in charge of Sydney for this evening I wouldn’t have been surprised if they would’ve played for a 0-0 draw… zzz…zzz…

And then Milton had a chance. And he snuffed it. That was the moment. And normally he’d have put it in. He did everything right, except the aiming of the shot. Great touch, good timing, he put it over Bolton, and wide of the mark. Aaarrrrggghhh!

Newcastle were starting to get control of the match… and then Brosque went a little cuckoo when he lost the ball cheaply, lost his temper and earned himself a yellow card. Idiot. I’m all for Newcastle winning, but I hate seeing shit football. I hate seeing shit players. And I hate seeing players lose their cool, and do shit things. Some players are reckless, which is also related to losing their tempers. I hate how young players collect yellow cards like trading cards (Adrian Leijer anyone?!?!?). And sometimes they don’t get a card, but the act was still foolish.

When Queensland played, I tended to go on Spase-watch. Hot/cold kind of player, but when he was hot he would play really well, get past players easily enough and put in well-weighted and extremely-well-placed throughballs. And then he’d go and recklessly tackle someone. And then I would scream at him on the TV and want to strangle his neck. Which would be difficult given his lack-of/tendency to slouch. Anyway…

So Brosque lost the plot. And then he mentally lost it. It seemed like that yellow card, along with losing the ball so easily, had become a burden on him - and he lost any confidence he may have had. And as the half progressed, Brosque was out of the game.

Meanwhile, there was some fun to be had at the other end of the pitch. As far as I’m concerned, Talay committed a handball in the box. I thought it should have been a penalty. The second ‘penalty’ I think not. Yes, Griffiths was fouled by Rudan – but outside the box. If you’re in dire straits and you need to foul a player who had broken away from you, you do it outside the box. Rudan tugged Griffiths shirt, enough to hold him back a bit and enough to make Griffiths eventually lose his balance – which happened to occur inside the box. But the incident was outside. No free was given, which was a farce – but it was not a penalty.

Tempers flared between teams, a yellow to Rudan. Play restarts and then Brosque does something silly – trying to be physical to assert his position on the pitch earns him another yellow. ¡Hasta luego Brosque! More tempers flare. Whistle blows for half-time and argument continues as players make their way out to the tunnels. Petrovski decides to get involved, and then attempts to tell Breeze what to do. Breeze is a bit of a prick himself – I hate him, as he’ll override his assistants (which he’s allowed to do – but does this without considering what they have seen) and referee the match to his liking. I think this is why there had been no penalties in the first half. So Petrovski cops a yellow, without having set foot on the park. Buahahahaha!!!!

Second half, and the Newcastle show continues. And the Milton-is-sore-and-having-a-bad-day show continues. There's a free-kick somewhere, taken by Milton that goes straight to Bolton. Frees should either beat the wall (because the 'keeper should be covering the other side of goal - and if this happens, oh well, credit to the kicker) or be a freakishly good kick to the top corner of the goalkeeper's side of the goal (again, credit to the kicker once you've stopped gaping). I've covered setting up a wall somewhere in the past.

Anyway, Griffiths scores - and now it’s all or nothing for Sydney. Carney off, Petrovski on. No complaints from me from a let’s-play-smart/let's-have-a-football-match/game-on pov*. Milton’s finally subbed off for Coveny. Hurrah, no more wasted ops from a c’mon-Newcastle pov. As much as I like Milton, he wasn’t functional out there. Carle finally gets a yellow for hacking his umpteenth player. Great player Carle, but has a tendency to hack. Coveny scores, as all good subs are expected to do (eg. Milton last week), and Newcastle are nearly there. 1 goal to Sydney, and things would have been even.

So what does Butcher do? He takes off the one player who controls the Sydney defence. As I said earlier, “I’m all for Newcastle winning, but I hate seeing shit football.” And this reeked of stupidity. Rudan is Sydney’s leader. Take away the captain’s armband from him and he is still the leader. He holds the defence together, and in corners gives Newcastle headaches with his aerial ability. Taking Rudan off unsettled the defence, and made corners easier to defend for Newcastle. And he puts on Zdrillic and Salley, who I’m not even going to cover here. That, FFA, was a joke!

Pretty much game over now. Fyfe and Milligan decide to join the yellow card parade, 3 nervous minutes of added time and Newcastle are through. Proving that van Egmond is some sort of genius...

However, during the last 20 minutes of play, when Newcastle had taken a 2-0 lead, they needed to waste time. Perhaps what Newcastle should have done wasn't covered in an earlier post of mine, and another time-wasting-tips post might be required…

P.S. Arrrgh, listed in the squad but wasn't on the bench!

*pov = point of view.

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