Saturday, November 07, 2015

Melbourne Victory: 2015 FFA Cup Champions

Melbourne Victory have added to the A-League’s biggest trophy collection in grand style, downing Perth Glory 2-0 in the FFA Cup final.

The Victory were dominant in the first half of Saturday night’s decider as they became the first side to concurrently hold all three domestic titles, having won a third A-League premiership-championship double in 2014-15.

The only down-side for them was the disappointing crowd of 15,098, with high ticket prices blamed for a half-full AAMI Park. Melbourne were well deserving of their two-goal halftime lead, following an opening 45 minutes played at a tempo worthy of a cup final.

The home side had the ball in the back of net as early as the 16th minute courtesy of a powerhouse strike by in-firm New Zealand international Kosta Barbarouses, although that effort was correctly disallowed as Victory defender Matthieu Delpierre was clearly offside.

Victory went ahead in the 35th minute, when Oliver Bozanic was on hand to lash the ball home after a good build up down the right from Jason Geria and Barbarouses. Melbourne doubled their advantage seven minutes later. Captain Carl Valeri played a perfect through-ball into the path of striker Besart Berisha, whose first touch took him past the final defender.

The Albanian goal-poacher then fired a brilliant strike across Glory keeper Ante Covic and inside the left post. Glory looked dangerous at times on the counter-attack although Brazilian striker Sidnei Sciola was mostly well held by Delpierre. Perth started the second half brightly and almost halved the deficit within four minutes when Diogo Ferreira slammed a shot into the right-hand upright.

In the 61st minute, Glory captain Richard Garcia’s first-time effort flew over the crossbar. The visitors had most of the best scoring chances in the second half without being able to convert any of them.

Victory were forced to play the last eight minutes with 10 men after Valeri was sent off for a second bookable offence - a heavy foul on Dino Djulbic. The same fate befell Valeri in the A-League grand final against Sydney FC earlier this year, although his team held on to win both matches in comfortable fashion.

Perth were unable to consider several important players due to injury on Saturday night including Chris Harold and import Gyorgy Sandor. The two-goal defeat meant Glory are still to win any silverware in the A-League era, having lost last year’s inaugural FFA Cup final to Adelaide United and the 2011-12 A-League grand final to Brisbane Roar.