Bore draw begins Victory campaign

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A late red card for Leigh Broxham was not enough to conjure a winner as Adelaide and Melbourne Victory played out a 0-0 stalemate at Adelaide Oval.

A tempestuous opening affair saw 15 fouls and three yellow cards dished out in just 20 minutes, as both sides came out eager to leave an impression on the other.

In a game that struggled to truly get going, the bulk of the chances arrived in the opening quarter.

Besart Berisha, who had failed to get a shot on target against the Reds in three matches last season, turned smartly in the box before firing over the bar with his weaker left, whilst the lively Cirio clipped a tempting ball across goal that evaded everyone.

Despite a typically swashbuckling performance from the Albanian, it was Berisha who spurned the game’s best chances.

The first arrived after Finkler picked him out with a delightful angled ball, but, bearing down on goal, Berisha’s first touch was uncharacteristically wayward, leaving Adelaide keeper John Hall with an easy collect.

It was a costly miss, but Berisha could have redeemed himself just moments later.

A superb through ball from the impressive Oliver Bozanic found Dylan Murnane bursting down the left. Murnane’s ball was measured but Berisha failed to connect with Hall flailing.

In their first game under new manager Guillermo Amor, Adelaide struggled to get their usually crisp passing game flowing, with the majority of the Red’s chances belonging to speculative efforts from outside the area.

The second half largely followed the pattern of the first: Victory created the better chances and looked the more likely, whilst Adelaide remained a constant threat in transition.

Kosta Barbarouses eventually had the ball in the back of the net on 55 minutes, but the goal was correctly disallowed for offside.

The Kiwi international was a constant threat on the right of Victory’s attacking three, and he hit the bar with a daisy-cutter from range just moments later.

Once again, it was Berisha who was guilty of missing the half’s best chance: sent through on goal by Bozanic, the Albanian had perhaps too much time to think, and was smothered by a combination of Hall and Osama Malik.

The ever-threatening Cirio saw two penalty claims waved away, before Leigh Broxham was given a second yellow and his marching orders for flying into a challenge with Isaias with his arm raised.

Replays suggested that Broxham, deputizing at right back for the Victory on the occasion, may have been unfortunate to receive his dismissal.

With just 10 men on the pitch, Victory pushed everyone bar Berisha behind the ball to hold out Adelaide, but in hindsight they needn’t have bothered: Adelaide were far too ponderous on the ball and lacked cutting edge in the final third, capped by the usually-effervescent Marcelo Carrusca’s late substitution.

Adelaide finally managed to create a genuine chance in stoppage time, but Vukovic was equal to Cirio’s placed effort, palming the ball to safety and ensuring the champions would start the new campaign unbeaten.

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