Honours even in Sydney

Melbourne Victory has opened its Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season with a 0-0 away draw to Sydney FC after an entertaining contest at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Melbourne Victory has opened its Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season with a 0-0 away draw to Sydney FC after an entertaining contest at the Sydney Football Stadium.

In a match with plenty of chances, neither side could find the back of the net, with Melbourne firmly in control for the first 45 minutes but missing chances to go ahead from Ney Fabiano and Danny Allsopp who had excellent opportunities.

Sydney had its go in the second half. Michael Theoklitos made one excellent save and then saw a free kick hit his right-hand upright, but both teams had to be content with a point.

It was a first half which had no goals but no shortage of action, with both sides spoiling several excellent chances at goal. Sydney keeper Clint Bolton was kept extremely busy, saving from Ney Fabiano in just the fifth minute and then defying Allsopp from close range shortly after.

Carlos Hernandez was having a stellar beginning to his season and while he fired over and then failed to test Bolton from a free kick he was commanding a dominant midfield performance.

New Sydney signing Chris Payne was very busy, but was finding it heavy weather against Kevin Muscat and Rody Vargas.

Up the other end, two Sydney defensive mistakes handed Tom Pondeljak then Jose Luis Lopez excellent chances, but neither could find the net. Pondeljak dribbled it over to Ney Fabiano, who was offside, while Lopez's left foot went straight at Bolton.

Sydney's best chances of the half went across the face of goal after a long run from Adam Casey.

Either side could have scored in the first ten minutes of the second half, with Muscat heading Evan Berger's corner just wide and then Simon Colosimo angling his shot just past the post.

Billy Celeski came on just after the hour, but the action was mainly up Sydney's end where Theoklitos denied Casey and then Shannon Cole hit the post from a free kick.

With 15 minutes left, an excellent build-up for Victory ended with Michael Thwaite who delivered a dangerous cross which Ney Fabiano failed to make contact with. Cole tried again from the dead ball and this time just went over Theoklitos' bar.

Looking for a late winner, Celeski smashed the ball straight at Bolton, while Hernandez again just missed with a quickly taken free kick.

Melbourne now travels to Wellington next week to take on the Phoenix in a re-match of the Pre-Season Cup final having taken its record against Sydney to ten matches with just one defeat.

Sydney FC 0 Melbourne Victory 0 Saturday, 16 August 2008 Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney Referee: Mark Shield Crowd: 16,277

Sydney FC: 1.Clint BOLTON (gk), 2.Iain FYFE, 3.Nick TSATTALIOS, 4.Simon COLOSIMO, 7.Robbie MIDDLEBY, 10.Steve CORICA (Captain), 12.Shannon COLE, 15.Terry MCFLYNN, 16.Chris PAYNE (19.Mark BBRIDGE 60-), 17.Jacob TIMPANO, 18.Adam CASEY

Substitutes not used: 20.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 24.Ryan WALSH, 25.Robbie MILESKI Yellow Cards: Jacob Timpano 24-, Terry McFlynn, Simon Colosimo 88-

Melbourne Victory: 1.Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Matthew KEMP, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 11.NEY FABIANO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 15.Tom PONDELJAK (18.Leigh BROXHAM 46-), 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Jose Luis LOPEZ, 19.Evan BERGER (14.Billy CELESKI 64-)

Substitutes not used: 5.Sebastian RYALL, 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk) Yellow cards: Rodrigo Vargas 31-, Michael Thwaite 59-, Jose Luis Lopez 68-