Tuesday 6th January 2009
Whilst in Melbourne for a wedding, it was a great opportunity to catch a game between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United. The top of the table clash at the Telstra Dome, pitched the two bitter rivals against each other.
The Telstra Dome is a spectacular stadium with a capacity of over 50,000 and is mainly used for Australian Rules Football. In the summer months, Melbourne Victory use the sporting venue until their new stadium is completed in 2010. A crowd of 27,196 turned up against Adelaide United which is pretty impressive for a ‘football’ match on a Tuesday night.
The teams were equally balanced and there was one name we all recognised instantly. Kevin Muscat, the captain of Melbourne Victory, played for a decade in Britain for Crystal Palace, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Rangers and Millwall. He had a nasty reputation on the pitch, with a more than a handful of dangerous tackles.
After a goalless first half, Melbourne scored in the 58th minute from a header by Nick Ward. The game ended 1-0, putting Melbourne Victory 2 points ahead of Adelaide United at the top of the table with a game in hand.
Overall, it was a great experience, even if the quality of football was similar to the level of teams in the 2nd/3rd tiers in England. But to put things into perspective, the A’ League was only its 4th season, so taking that into account and with the exodus of Australia’s best players to Europe and beyond, I have to say it’s pretty good progress and long may it continue.