Victory goes top in A-League as fans stage walkout
SYDNEY (AP) — The Melbourne Victory played through a staged walkout by fans to beat Adelaide United 2-1 and move atop the A-League in the eighth round on Saturday.
Melbourne was leading 2-0 after half an hour, with goals to Besart Berisha and Oliver Bozanic, when members of its North Terrace supporters club walked out of its Etihad Stadium as part of league-wide protests against Football Federation Australia’s treatment of fans.
Supporters of the Western Sydney Wanderers also intended to stage a walkout during Sunday’s match against Central Coast, while fans at other matches unfurled banners with messages aimed at the FFA.
Fans were particularly protesting the apparent leak to media of the names of 198 supporters banned from matches for various, often minor, infractions.
Former Manchester United and Aston Villa goalkeeper Mark Bosnich was among leading players who supported the protests. Bosnich said the issue for fans was one of fairness.
“I’ve said to the FFA and I’m saying to them again now, please install a fair, proper appeals process, and remember this as well, you must stand up for your supporters because the fans can do without football but football cannot do without its fans,” he said.
The fan protest at Melbourne didn’t disrupt the Victory’s progress to their fifth win in seven matches, which extended their unbeaten run at home to 10 matches.
Berisha scored from the penalty spot, and Bozanic from a free kick, as Melbourne extended Adelaide’s winless streak to a club-record nine games, leaving them at the bottom of the table with three points from eight games.
The Victory moved into first place ahead of Brisbane, which was held to 1-1 by fifth-place Newcastle.
Brisbane took the lead with a second-half goal to Jamie Maclaren but Newcastle equalized through Ben Kantarovski with 19 minutes to go.
Australia midfielder Aaron Mooy had a hand in four goals as Melbourne City trounced Perth 5-1 to stay inside the top six.
Mooy laid on goals for Erik Paartalu, Connor Chapman, and Bruno Fornaroli inside the first 35 minutes. Harry Novilo scored from a corner after the interval to extend the lead to 4-1, before Mooy completed the rout with a late penalty.
“We were rubbish, plain and simple,” Perth goalkeeper Ante Covic said. “Defensively we had more holes than Swiss cheese.”
Sydney FC stayed in fourth place after a tepid 0-0 draw on Thursday with seventh-place Wellington.