While a second string Melbourne Victory outfit hung on to draw 1-1 with Guangzhou Evergrande, Kevin Muscat has invited his squad to showcase the same level of commitment for the remaining fixtures

“You get what you deserve, the level of commitment today was outstanding,” Muscat spoke at the post match press conference.

“The challenge is laid down to everybody now, that’s the level of commitment that’s required – nothing short.

Image Credit : Ngau Kai Yan

“What we showed tonight, was that when you make a decision that you’re going to leave nothing in the tank and you’re fully committed to your roles, your responsibilities and your job, great things are possible. Anything short of that, and you’re relying on luck,” Muscat said.

With notable names like Keisuke Honda, Ola Toivonen and Raul Baena left out of the match day squad and a Victory bench chock full of youngsters, many feared a scoreline more devastating than the 4-0 drubbing in China earlier in the month would be on the cards.

Instead, the seemingly makeshift home side’s squad held on to a respectable 1-1 draw, shackling Brazilian duo Paulinho and Anderson Talisca, while providing a defensive performance Fabio Cannavaro would’ve been proud of.

“We took it on, we prepared well, we’ve got no excuses whatsoever, we didn’t turn up that night and we didn’t bring the level of commitment to compete,” Muscat said, referring to the reverse fixture.

“It was a totally different performance, night and day.

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“We created enough chances, it was a pleasing night. We have a game on Saturday, it’ll be difficult for the players who played today to ask them to make up, and we’ll change the squad accordingly,” he said.

Terry Antonis might have been disappointed he was not officially awarded the assist for Jai Ingham’s goal, but was eventually awarded the man of the match, having a fine game starting free-flowing attacks from Victory’s midfield.

“All the boys were committed tonight, we weren’t scared to take them on. Those boys showed the character that they wanted to win and it’ll put some (selection) pressure on the boss,” Antonis said.

 

Image Credit : Ngau Kai Yan

“We played smart, and structurally. We took the game plan on, had our roles and attacked the ball as well.

“If we need to play like that (defensively), it shows that we can do that side of football as well, it’s good to have different formations and tactics for different games,” Antonis said, in light of the impending A-League finals showdown.

Elvis Kamsoba played a full 90, constantly dealt and received tackles in the midfield, and impressed with his now trademark take-ons against players when presented the chance.

“We thought we were just going to go out there give it a crack, we have nothing to lose,” Kamsoba said.

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“We definitely gave them a hard time.

“I think I did enough for the team, but maybe I could’ve done better. I’m still growing, I reckon there’s more to come,” he said.

Cannavaro rues poor refereeing decisions

Cannavaro expected a tough fight against Victory, but he probably wouldn’t have expected this outcome, given the full strength of his side and the lack of it from his opponent.

But in his snappy post match press conference that began even before most journalists could arrive, he revealed his fury on referee Abdulla Shukralla’s decisions against his team.

“If you’re going to foul a player (Talisca) 24, 34 times within a match without a red or yellow card, it’s not normal,” Cannavaro said.

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“Tonight we had the chances, we could’ve done better, we should’ve scored. Victory will be very happy with the result, and I’m sure they have met some objectives on their own.

“But Talisca was fouled so many times without a yellow,” he said.

The Italian then remarked in English, unassisted, “if we want to see a good show, we need to let these kind of players (Talisca) play. It’s unbelievable.”

Feature Image and Gallery Credit : Ngau Kai Yan

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Journalism undergrad at Monash University, Kai is a multimedia journalist covering Melbourne Victory. Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund. Once "stole" Shinji Kagawa's plane ticket.