Inexperienced and depleted squad kept Victory from their best in dramatic draw

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An extraordinary final 10 minutes between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United transformed an unremarkable match into one of the most intriguing and controversial games of the season.

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It started with a thundering goal from Nick D’Agostino which put Victory 1-0 in front in the 84th minute. From there, Adelaide managed to score an equaliser…twice, with the first goal being denied as Stefan Mauk was adjudged to have interfered with Victory keeper Ivan Kelava’s attempt to save Javi Lopez’s strike.

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Victory coach Tony Popovic summed up the end of the match pretty simply: “It was a bit crazy.

“We scored a wonderful goal. They had a nice finish as well. It was just unfortunate for us that we couldn’t hold out.”

Despite his side only registering one shot on goal, Popovic appeared pretty unconcerned by the overall performance.

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“We have a lot of young boys just getting experience,” he said.

“We had a good chance in the first half that they blocked. I think in the final third our last pass just let us down, we created a lot of good openings but failed to capitalise.”

With the ever-present COVID-19 pandemic hovering over the team, Popovic again reiterated that any discussion around the impact that was having should be secondary to their performances on matchday.

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“I don’t want to focus on the off-field stuff that’s happening at the moment,” he said.

“At the end of the day we were out on the pitch playing tonight, and we put in a solid performance.”

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However, with Victory currently sitting atop the A-League Men ladder, moral victories simply won’t be good enough for Popovic, nor the supporters.

After the past couple seasons of poor performances, the expectation at AAMI Park was that Victory would take care of business against an opposition who they recently defeated in the FFA Cup, and who currently have just one win to their name in the league.

Popovic echoed this sentiment, once again in a direct and simple manner stating: “We should’ve won this game.”

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Mitchell Turner
Third Year Undergraduate Arts Student at Monash University (Journalism Major). Generic sports tragic living out my failed dreams of going pro vicariously through other people.

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