Saturday, January 17, 2009

Roar 3 v Sydney 1: machine gun Van Dijk

Frank was right about Van Dijk and I was wrong. His 3 tonight puts him in the league of the season's top scorers. However, it was the amazing skill and speed of Michael Zullo that won this game for the Roar. He should be man of the match. His consistency highlights the correct decision not to pay up for Minniecon.

Zullo was running right in front of us in the first half. We cheered and encouraged him to run at Sydney's Grant. I don't recall Grant winning more than one tackle in the first 30 minutes (albeit the critical on goal on the 6 yard box). Zullo was the Roar's main option in that first half hour. With Sydney closing the Roar down for the half and Brosque trying to make runs up his right wing, Zullo got the ball time after time and out ran, turned and crossed around Grant. Two, three crosses went begging. Then Mitch got on the end of one in the box and the Sydney keeper could not hang onto it, Van Dijk was there to poach it in.

Then the Roar sat back. A Sydney goal started to look inevitable. grant was making his own dangerous crosses across the Roar defence. And it looked shakey. Andrew Packer, for the second game, struggled to maintain his position. Sydney equalised from a Grant cross.

The Roar switched back on. Moore plowed one down the middle and Van Dijk outplayed Sydney's offside trap brilliantly. He did not miss from inside the box.

After a few more cutting runs and crosses, Zullo was done. But he had done the damage for the night.

This ref struggles to keep up with the game. He missed hand balls and dangerous elbows. Most comically he blew for a corner. Then called half time before the Roar had a chance to take it. But worse was to come in the second half. As Sydney became more desparate to save their season they began diving, tripping, using their elbows. The ref missed most of these, until Caincross was given a red.

Simon Collosimo came on in the middle of the second half. He quickly showed he was prepared to do anything to win the game for Sydney and keep their season alive. This included a dive to get Craig Moore in the book (his 4th), and an elbow to Murdocca's head - an attempt to get Murdocca out of the game. Frank was incensed that it was only a yellow and could be seen questioning the match officials about the ref allowing Sydney's callus and dangerous play to go on. Josh McCloughan got a very very soft yellow to make up his 5th, so I think he is out next week - Mundy?

Robbie Kruse came on but sadly added little to the game. Given that he was nudging out Tommy Oar it will be interesting to see, given Asia is still on the line, if he gets a another chance. He looked timid.

Then Charlie Miller came on with 12 minutes to go. The crowd went wild and the Roar lifted. The Roar front three (Van Dijk, Kruse and Miller), Van Dijk had been playing wide and making crosses, with Zullo, on the left in the second half, kept in a tight triangle drawing in most of the Sydney defence.

Roar sat back. Van Dijk get the ball. Its Van Dijk with Miller on his left and Sydney defenders on the back foot. Van Dijk does a series of step overs - now we have seen everything - 'pass to Miller', but he shoots high. Then Van Dijk is in the clear again, this time out in front. Then he falls over. Yep.

Then the 90 were up, 3 to go. Miller gets the ball. Passes to van Dijk who scores. Hat trick. Yes.

This is what we want. Now for Adelaide or Melbourne to slip up. Best Perth. Then Asia. That is what Australian Football needs, Asia in Brisbane - with crowds of 20,000, 30,000 and 40,000.


Ed Vegas said...

Great Game, Great crowd, great atmosphere, great big lovely Dutchman.

Absolutely agree re Zullo - he ran rings around the poor kid at right back.

Creadit to Sydney's youngsters most of the had a number over 30 on thier back which you dont often see in the A-league and tells you somthing about Sydney's season.

How about Danning? spent some of the night on the right wing, is clearly comfortable as a striker. I dont suppose Syd have him on a contract...might want to try his luck at at bigger club further north... the new Tahj? mists

Hamish said...

Agree on most of this John - and with the Roar Women becoming Champions what a great day for the Roar!

But I'm not so sure about your assessment of Andrew Packer, and I know you're not the only one dissing him. He was one of the players I was watching (there's usually 3 or 4 I end up watching closely in a game). He worked very hard, and yes he plays the whole line so is sometimes caught forward, but when he finds himself running the wing he's confident and I have no doubt that's part of his brief. I counted two actual mistakes, but with the amount of work he did that's not too bad (I reckon Zullo made more than that but you're absolutely right about his contribution to the match). One very Moorish covering defense saved us from a certain goal.

As for Sydney's goal, you say Packer was out of position. I don't think that's fair and I think it's more organic than that. I'm going to admit that I don't even know where Packer was, but the fact is Seo WAS in that exact position and simply failed to challenge aerially.

I was excited to see Seo incidentally as Jacob and I have always been big fans of his. But he had an average match. I remain impressed with his actual one-on-one defensive skills, but I don't think he reads the game well, which may explain his endearing but ultimately frustrating habit of going for goal from 20 metres - he just hasn't spotted the options. He made a couple of mistakes (like off long passes) but his greater crime in my opinion is bad decisions.

Blah blah. What a day for the Roar! Two wins, one a grand final victory, and both utterly convincing both from the play and the scoresheet. Happy days.

Oh, and at risk of upsetting any family-friendly intent of your blog John, John Kosmina, once again happy with the way his team played, is a dickhead.

Anonymous said...

i got to catch the first half of the game before being dragged to a going away party ...

and i was pleasantly surprised to see a roar win. considering they played on wednesday (and even with a week`s rest that can run out of gas at the end of games), i was expecting the roar to get overrun from about the 30 minute mark or so ...

even at 2 - 1 i was expecting a tie or a loss. so getting home to see the roar hold on for the win was very, very nice.

i am really impressed with some of the passing the team is playing ... i saw some pretty dreadful patches where there passes missed, but when they passed well, and it was pretty damn good.

i think mike zullo is progressing very nicely, and a very important part of the team. but there are two more things i`d love to see him add to his game. 1 - consistently dangerous crossing; yeah, he`s not terrible by a-league standards, but this is the kind of thing that`ll keep him on the bench when he does eventually try to make the move to europe. sometimes he zings them in and he`s sized up where his teammates are, and other times, he doesn`t. 2 - i`d love to see him rip into defenders ala tahj. i love the confidence tahj plays with.

sergio is slow, but he is playing hard for his team, he`s adjusted to the style and tempo of the a-league, and the guy is a footballer. that second goal came out of some awful sydney defending. it was a strange kind of amazing watching sergio getting in behind the defenders. a rookie mistake by the sydney defender which was punished. surely every team from now will have one central defender man marking sergio and the other nearby?

i am enjoying mass murdocca`s work a lot recently, especially his ability to keep the ball at his feet, take a probing run, and use his mobility/turning ability to keep the ball away from his defender. i think it has a very calming effect on the team.

uggh, disappointed to hear how kruse isn`t making the most of his game time. perhaps he`ll be a warning message to other bright young things that it can all go wrong. gotta work hard. gotta improve. gotta get mentally tough.


john said...

Thanks for your Comments
Ed - although Frank is reported to be really cheesed off with Miron for paying up for Tahj, I think the Roar think they have more than enough to make up for him - Mitch, Tommy, Cernek for a start.
Hamish - granted Packer's energy. Against Adelaide he so nearly got himself sent off. But you are right about him pushing forward - his final touches let him down. Could be the last we see of Seo, he will open up a foreign spot. I had no idea about the Frank-Kosmina thing till I got home and watched the TV. From where I sat they looked like they were hugging.

Clayton san - Sergio was amazing - like Reinaldo last year for this game he was running the whole park. In the second half Zullo and Van Dijk shared the left wing (left us a bit short in the middle).