Muscat: Victory knows how to win big games
An elated Kevin Muscat says Melbourne Victory’s habit of delivering in big games came to the fore in Saturday night’s epic Hyundai A-League Semi-Final win over Sydney FC.
In a match full of drama and controversy, Victory prevailed 3-2 after extra-time to book their spot in next Saturday night’s grand final against Newcastle Jets.
Victory had lost their last seven games in succession against the Sky Blues but snapped that unwanted streak thanks to Terry Antonis’ winner late in extra-time.
"When the time is right, the big games, we come through,” Muscat said.
“Sydney still haven’t beaten us in the finals.
“In previous games, many have been decided by a single goal, a sending off or a penalty. We're pretty proud of the record we've got."
"It's typical of us in enemy territory. Victory are going to sweat and do it the hard way,” the Victory boss added.
“You can't tell me we don't deserve it. Our record speaks for itself. We'll enjoy tonight, but it will be quickly back down to business."
Befitting the rivalry between the two proud clubs, the contest had plenty of momentum swings before Antonis’ final blow.
It was the Victory midfielder’s own goal that saved the Sky Blues in normal time, with Antonis turning Adrian Mierzejewki’s cross into his own net deep in stoppage-time to level the scores at 2-2.
Sydney FC felt they should have had a penalty in extra-time when Matt Simon was held back by Thomas Deng in the box, with former Sky Blue Antonis then going from villain to hero with his sublime solo goal.
But the drama wasn’t done there, with Victory assistant coaches Jean Paul de Marigny and Dean Anastasiadis racing onto the pitch to celebrate the goal and getting into a skirmish with Sydney’s David Carney.
"I was caught up in the emotion of the game as well … and I haven’t seen anything," said Muscat when asked about the incident.
"They’ve obviously been punished tonight for whatever reasons and we’ll find out what they are and we’ll go from there.
“(It was a) punishment tonight not seeing the end of the game so surely common sense will prevail and they can enjoy what they’ve worked hard for throughout the season next week.
"Football is an emotional game and sometimes when someone gets over-emotional we want to jump on them and crucify them.
"And then when there’s no emotion (people say) ‘Oh, it’s boring’, so you’ve got to be careful as well and I’m hoping common sense will prevail and I’m pretty sure it will as well."