Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sydney are back!

I'm back too! It's been a while, but you can't get rid of me that easily!

I’m quite excited about this (as in Sydney's return to being decent), I was quite worried that they would be very poor representatives of the A-League, and consequently make our league seem like a joke! But to play in some style when it mattered most – away, in their first Asian Champions League match – wooooooooo! Luckily for everyone*, Culina has done an excellent job in moulding a team that plays free-flowing football.

But first, let’s go to the Adelaide match against Shandong Luneng Taishan (from China). Shandong started with blistering speed, and scored early. Fortunately for Adelaide, the assistant referee incorrectly deemed it as offside and the referee disallowed the goal. Every single other offside flagged by the assistant was spot-on though, and I’m assuming he hadn’t ‘warmed up’ yet with respect to the first one. I have to give Adelaide some credit for what they did next. Adelaide were completely out of the match, simply because of the speed that Shandong played their game. So when they had possession, Adelaide slowed the game right down to try and establish their own rhythm. Alright, so in the grand scheme of things this tactic didn’t really work. But aside from the own goal, Shandong were never really convinving winners… unlike Sydney…

It really was a sight to behold. I haven’t visited the Sydney forums yet, but I don’t particularly feel the need to. I hope the fans are happy. Not that I though Butcher was all that bad (anyone who plays at a World Cup is a semi-hero to me), and I didn’t find Sydney particularly fun to watch, but woah! Their football last night was smooth! Whatever Culina’s done, I’m a very happy football fan. I think Carney had a lot to do with it – he seems to be back to his best, and it made a difference.

Favourite moment was a draw between the start of the first goal and Talay’s completely surprised and excited face after he scored. I think Carney’s interception of the ball that was played back by Shanghai to the defender was lucky. But sometimes luck is all you need, and by attempting to get that ball Carney did more than some other players would have. And it was the fact that he intercepted the ball and it was the intercept that started the goal that made it one of my can’t-stop-grinning faces. Add the great 2nd touch to control the ball, and the perfectly timed pass in front of Corica, so that Corica could run onto the ball – beautiful stuff.

Talay’s shot was awesome. My jaw hit the floor and then I was grinning from ear to ear. But what I really liked was Talay’s excitement and slight-disbelief that he scored. I think not having any A-League matches has had a serious effect on my emotional senses – a Melbourne fan, happy because Sydney was playing well and winning!

Anyway, I only saw the first half as I really needed to get to bed. Call me weak, meh, at least Sydney didn’t concede while I was awake. Speaking of conceding… Valkanis… enough said I think. Well, not quite, perhaps Beltrame could have done more with the cross, or actually, perhaps Beltrame could have done something about the cross, so that it wasn’t touched by the Shandong player. There were a few great saves from Beltrame. Bolton also had a solid first half from what I saw and a good second half from what I read – even though he did concede one.

Sorry to regular readers who may have expected a different kind of post, but I’m just warming up again.

For a better review than what I've just knocked up, visit the Football Tragic.

In the meantime, Adelaide can look forward to these conditions on April 25th…

*Sydney fans, A-League supporters (as in those who support the A-League and want the A-League to succeed, even if it's at the [short-term] expense of their team), and other supporters who don't yet know what's good for them.

P.S. I'm meant to plug something, but I'm yet to give it a listen myself, so I won't be plugging it yet! (Sorry)

P.P.S. No Costanzo gushing today, he wasn't as spectacular as he had been, but I think the move up the field isn't the best for him. Still, he put it a good performance, and Adelaide don't really have the players to put in there... I also though Djite did a decent job of playing alone up front, and I agreed with the tactic.

P.P.P.S. Branko, can you please do something about your defence? Middleby's quick, but short (I wonder if he could ever attempt a header?) and lacks some strength. Topor-Stanley's the opposite - strong but slow. I can't really think of a solution at the moment except for the inclusion of Zadkovich on the right - he wasn't too bad under Butcher (muttered under breath).

1 comment:

Mike Salter said...

Why, Cecilia, thanks for the plug! ;-)

Definitely some good signs under Culina, but he's more cautious about things than most of the media have been in the last few days.

We still need a few players for the season to come...specifically, a couple of REAL full-backs. And it'd be nice to have a good back-up for Corica; I love the guy to bits, but he is getting on.