Paper Talk: Barbarouses mind game spares Victory’s derby blushes
When Kosta Barbarouses took the ball close to the byline early in the second half of Saturday night’s Melbourne Derby, almost everyone expected the Victory attacker to try and cross for a teammate.
With Ola Toivonen lurking at the far post, it seemed the only option as a 10-man Victory sought an equaliser.
But the New Zealand international winger had other ideas, hitting the ball firmly to the near post, with City gloveman Eugene Galekovic fumbling the ball into the net.
While many put the goal down to goalkeeper error – and there’s no doubt there was an element of that – Barbarouses revealed he was going for goal.
Aware the goalkeeper almost always anticipates a cross in that situation, the 29-year-old took a punt which paid off handsomely as Victory salvaged a 1-1 draw against their crosstown rivals.
“I normally maybe hit that first time but I saw Ola [Toivonen] was in but then I took that [heavy] touch and Euge took that half step [out] and that’s what happens when players are arriving in the box,” Barbarouses explained to Fox Sports post-match.
“I look at that in training too and it came off at the near post.
“You might say the keeper should have done better but you still have to look to see if that’s an option.”
Whether it was a cross or a shot, you have to applaud Barbarouses for being aware of all of his options in a frantic moment during the heat of a derby match.
Kurz facing defensive crisis at Adelaide?
Adelaide United boss Marco Kurz may be left to rue the club’s decision to let Taylor Regan go in the January transfer period following news of a broken foot to centre-back Jordan Elsey.
With defensive cover already thin after the club failed to find a replacement for Regan, confirmation of Elsey’s problem in the Adelaide Advertiser must be worrying for the Reds.
The 24-year-old missed Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Newcastle Jets after fracturing his foot in the loss to Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 19.
It’s understood Elsey could be sidelined for as many as six weeks.
Experienced right-back Michael Marrone had to play in the heart of defence alongside Michael Jakobsen on Sunday, with veteran midfielder Vince Lia seemingly the only other option to play in that position while Elsey is out.
With the transfer window now closed, Adelaide can only sign free agents, with the Advertiser reporting the club is tracking Daniel Mullen to potentially take up an injury-replacement contract.