The tempestuous fixture involving Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United has never been too distant from controversy and impassioned exchanges between players and coaches alike.
Dubbed the ‘Original Rivalry’ due to being one of the first true rivalries in the A-League and of course the natural South Australia vs Victoria aspect, the old foes resume hostilities at AAMI Park on Friday night.
This match rarely disappoints and has produced some of the most memorable and notorious footballing moments over the years – captivating fans of the game all over the country.
From fabulously constructed goals to inexplicable instances of petulance as well as unforgettable finals, it is no coincidence why this cross-border rivalry is arguably the biggest in Australian football.
Our friends at Outside90.com look at five of the most memorable flashpoints.
5. Ross Aloisi’s brain fade condemns Adelaide to a 6-0 grand final humiliation (18 February 2007)
The darkest day in Adelaide’s short history occurred in the 2007 grand final. The Reds were absolutely mauled by a ruthless Victory and Archie Thompson, who netted a phenomenal five goals in the 6-0 drubbing. However, the turning point of the match happened on 34 minutes when an already cautioned Aloisi committed a moment of madness and was rightfully given an early shower for the impulsive challenge.
The captain’s emotions got the better of him following a late hip and shoulder on Grant Brebner and with his side trailing 2-0, it made an unlikely comeback impossible. The ramifications over the event meant Aloisi’s fate was sealed – proving to be his final match for the Reds.
4. Ney Fabiano spits at Robert Cornthwaite (12 September 2008)
Possibly an incident that has somewhat slipped under the radar in recent times transpired in round four of the 2008-09 campaign. In what was no more than initially considered ‘handbags’ concerning Melbourne’s Ney Fabiano and Adelaide’s Robbie Cornthwaite quickly escalated into a scene of sheer disgust.
The Brazilian forward remonstrated with the referee over a prior confrontation, before turning to Cornthwaite and spitting in his face. The then 29-year-old received a straight red and was handed an eight-match suspension by the Match Review Panel, on top of the mandatory one-game ban.
3. Kevin Muscat receives two cautions in eight minutes (9 January 2011)
A man synonymous with this clash, Kevin Muscat always seemed to find a way of getting into the referee’s notebook. However, perhaps rather surprisingly it was his first ever dismissal, albeit courtesy of two yellow cards, against Adelaide. Already walking a tightrope for an apparent kick-out on Uruguayan midfielder Francisco Usucar a few minutes earlier, the uncompromising centre-half again tested referee Peter Green’s patience following a deliberate stray elbow making contact with Adam Hughes’ face.
He was justifiably given his marching orders and his departure coincided with the Reds capitalising on their numerical advantage, scoring a further two goals to triumph 4-1 and end an 11-game winless run over their bitter opponents.
2. Cristiano’s controversial 2009 grand final dismissal (28 February 2009)
The 2009 A-League grand final will forever be marred by Reds striker Cristiano’s polemical early exit from proceedings. The Brazilian jumped up to contest a ball with Melbourne defender Rodrigo Vargas, inadvertently catching his ear with his arm. Referee Matthew Breeze rushed over and looked set to display just a yellow card, but consulted with his assistant, before issuing a red card instead after blood streamed from Vargas’ ear.
Fox Sports pundit Robbie Slater on commentary was critical of Breeze’s decision to brandish a red card inside 10 minutes, repeatedly exclaiming it was a “terrible decision”. Replays indicated the striker’s eyes were solely fixed on the ball with Slater questioning whether the blood impacted the officials’ judgement. United’s resistance would finally break when Tom Pondeljak’s long-range strike broke the deadlock on the hour mark as they suffered a second grand final defeat to Melbourne.
John Kosmina and Kevin Muscat’s sideline scuffle (15 October 2006)
Without question the most contentious and dramatic of flashpoints during the Original Rivalry’s existence. In round eight of the 2006-07 season with Adelaide boasting a slender 1-0 lead, with four minutes left on the clock, all hell broke loose in a sideline fracas involving Reds coach John Kosmina and Victory captain Kevin Muscat. After the ball entered the technical area, Kosmina attempted to collect it, only to be bundled over by Muscat and shown a yellow card. The United boss reacted by grabbing the skipper by the throat and was sent to the stands and hit with a subsequent lengthy touchline ban.
The Kosmina/Mucat Cup manifested itself as a consequence of the infamous altercation – a trophy rewarded to the team with the superior head-to-head record at the conclusion of their three regular season encounters. This incident has since been etched into South Australian and Victorian sporting folklore and continues to define the hostility and utter resentment shared between these two fierce rivals.
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