‘I’m not a goalscorer’: Toivonen teases as Victory book A-League semi-final spot

-

Wind the clock back to the early days of the 2018/19 A-League season in late November, and Ola Toivonen warned everyone that he wasn’t a prolific goalscorer.

After a season’s worth of A-League games, Toivonen is within the top five bracket of the league’s all-time clinical forwards and is a goal away from pipping Victory’s top goalscorer this season Kosta Barbarouses. Not forgetting he achieved all these while missing eight games throughout the calendar year.

Image Credit : Ngau Kai Yan

Once again, the 32-year-old made his way onto the score sheet, netting one goal tonight in a 3-1 Victory against Wellington Phoenix bookings the home side a spot into the semis of the A-League finals series.

“I’m happy with one, I’m not a goalscorer, I told you that, I like to put other players in positions as well,” Toivonen said.

Tonight’s performance from the Swede is only a sample of his work accomplished for Victory all season. With his finishing abilities and fine vein of form, Toivonen could’ve easily bagged the match ball. Instead, he chose to lay off final balls to Barbarouses or Elvis Kamsoba, who looked an option for easier finishes. As such, a handful of chances went begging, in either half, where Toivonen could’ve opted to put it past Filip Kurto himself.

You can watch the A-League live for only $25 a month. Click here to read our review of Kayo Sports and to start your 14-day free trial.

Judging by his third and the game’s final goal, Toivonen definitely had his shooting boots firmly strapped on. A Barbarouses through ball cannoned off Michal Kopczynski’s attempted sliding clearance, launching the ball sky-high towards Phoenix’s half, with Kurto back-pedalling furiously. After Toivonen deftly brought down the ball in the penalty box, he advanced from a tight angle, and chipped it over Kurto – who was already sliding foot first in anticipation of a shot.

“Keepers always go down, they never stand, so the chip is always available,” Toivonen said.

“We needed a win and we won.

“Knowing the finals, it doesn’t matter if you play good as long as you get a result,” Toivonen said.

German Georg delivers again

Georg Niedermeier, an unexpected scorer of the day, agreed with Toivonen that the scoreline matters more than the performance in the fight for the finals.

“Our tactics were different, we analysed our previous games against Phoenix where we just wanted to dominate,” Niedermeier said.

Image Credit : Ngau Kai Yan

“But we did that in the league, it’s not that risky then, but we knew this is a final and we just have to weaken their strengths.

“That being (Roy) Krishna up front, so we sat a bit deeper today and made the pitch smaller,” Niedermeier said.

The German defender has taken up some goalscoring duties of late, scoring two in his last four matches. He attributes today’s headed goal as another intricate planned set piece with Keisuke Honda.

“We had to adjust accordingly because of the different man-making, but it was a perfect delivery by Keisuke and I just had to put it in the net,” Niedermeier said.

“I think my goal was a big step for us tonight.

“It was the first step of three to the title, so I’m happy to help with the set piece,” Niedermeier said.

Rudan and the Nix: a marriage no more

With a 63.1% possession rate and a 64.1% successful aerial duel rate, one would’ve expected the ’Nix to have gotten more out of this fixture, given its fiery and unforgiving nature. But Victory made light work of Phoenix by displaying some slick counter attacking moves, which led to two of their goals. Eventually, tempers hindered the away’s side quest to seek an equaliser, as more than half the squad were booked by the remarkably patient Shaun Evans.

“Three mistakes cost us, but is not as if any of their goals came from them outplaying us in any sort of way,” Mark Rudan said.

Image Credit : Ngau Kai Yan

“We knew we had a game plan and took Victory in the first half, in the second half, and all the way to the end.

“I thought we performed admirably, not just tonight but all season long,” Rudan said.

Rudan had expected his side to progress to the next round of fixtures, but that dream has come crashing to an end in Melbourne. With that loss, Rudan has officially played out his last match as Phoenix’s head coach. Despite confirming that he will depart at the season’s end, the head coach had some strong final words about his relationship with the ‘Nix.

“I came to the club where I think both parties needed it. A fresh approach, some with new ideas, the club was at a lull as well, and it was my job to pick up a lot of things in different areas,” Rudan said.

“I think we’re in a better place now, this club gave me my first opportunity, I’ll never forget that. If anyone questions the existence of this football club, you’re kidding yourself in terms of what we can do and what we’ve done this season as well.

“There’s a platform there to build on, and I’m sure it’s going to continue to head in the upwards direction,” Rudan said.

“Enjoy responsibly tonight” Muscat to his men

The head coach of the other camp had nothing but praise for his side, adding that he would like to relish this win before setting his sights on Sydney FC.

“We kept our discipline, kept our heads in key moments and from there we exposed some key weaknesses and scored some good goals,” Kevin Muscat said.

Image Credit : Ngau Kai Yan

“Ola’s finish was remarkable, he keeps getting better and better and tonight was a really strong performance from him.

“I’ve said to the players to responsibly enjoy tonight, we’ll come in tomorrow morning, access the players,” Muscat said.

The teams might be different next season, but when Rudan bags the Western United gig, we’’re certain that more sparks will fly when these two crosstown rivals meet.

Feature Image Credit : Ngau Kai Yan

Latest Articles

Adelaide United 2019/20 W-League season preview

Adelaide United gained the respect of the competition last season by missing out on a finals spot by only one point. Can they progress even...

Melbourne City 2019/20 W-League season preview

Last season Melbourne City fell short of claiming a fourth straight championship, narrowly missing the finals. Can this powerhouse club bounce back up the table...
Ngau Kai Yanhttp://ngaukaiyan.com
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.