Celtic prevailed 1-0 in a closely fought battle at a wet and cold AAMI Park last night. Substitute, and regular Celtic captain, Scott Brown scored the only goal of the game - a well hit, powerful and low strike from outside the box from a trained corner move.
Some of the reports I’ve read so far have cast the match as if Celtic dominated, but I certainly didn’t see it that way from my seat stuck in the rain on the half way line (I was absolutely drenched, by the way. My friends and I eventually gave up and snuck up to some seats on level 3). Sure, Celtic were the better side, but they didn’t dominate the match, and at times Melbourne had the upper hand.
Two things were blatantly obvious about Melbourne last night. The first was that they’ve only been training for a week. Allsopp and Thompson missed a number of chances that they really should have buried. The last 15-20 minutes as well, Melbourne completely ran out of puff and allowed Celtic to dominate with ease, leading to the eventual goal.
The second was that Melbourne had no playmaker on the field, with Carlos Hernandez suspended. Throughout the game, Melbourne tried to play a possession based passing game, ala Brisbane from last season, but there was no one who tried to play a killer pass through to the strikers. Criticism has to go out to Danny Allsopp, who was almost statuesque tonight and did little.
Still, there were some highlights for Melbourne in two new signings, winger Marco Rojas and goalkeeper Tando Velaphi. Rojas played both sides of the pitch last night, and looked equally dangerous no matter what side he was on. His dribbling was delightful to watch, and was the person most likely to create something. Velaphi made a number of excellent saves last night, and was a breath of fresh air after having to watch a season with Michael Petkovic in goals. While Velaphi didn’t have to deal with too many high balls, his shot stopped was fantastic and it took a deflected shot to beat him in the end.
Leigh Broxham also had a good game, continuing his run of form from the Champions League. While Brox certainly cops a fair amount of criticism from the supporters, he made a number of vital tackles when needed last night.
A shout out needs to go to both sets of fans, who created a fantastic atmosphere last night. Was wonderful to hear the Celtic fans belt out both “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Just Can’t Get Enough”. However, I then got home and read about the Victorian Police tweeting evictions from the game like it’s a joke. This is the impasse we’ve reached with football in this country. 14 evictions from 20,000 people really is 2/3rds of fuck all. The supporters last night were fantastic, especially considering some of the Celtic supporters had been in the pub since 4pm. Good on Inspector Mike Beattie for apologising this morning, but the damage is already done.
It doesn’t bother me that the police want to show a human side to their work and have a laugh. However, why constantly target soccer fans? If it was an AFL match, such tweets would have never gone out.
Final mentions have to go to the clueless bloke in the kebab shop on Swan Street (“So, you guys are playing the Celtics tonight yeah? Are they an international side or something? From Ireland?”), and also to the girl from Sydney/Canberra who subtly tried to nick off with my scarf after I’d had 3 pints; bitch, please.
- withthesewingswefly posted this