Muscat left with mixed emotions

Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat was left disappointed but proud following his 500th career game on Saturday night after his team did everything but beat arch-rival Sydney FC in their Hyundai A-League blockbuster.

Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat was left disappointed but proud following his 500th career game on Saturday night after his team did everything but beat arch-rival Sydney FC in their Hyundai A-League blockbuster.

The top-of-the-table showdown threw up Melbourne's first home goalless draw for more than two years after the reigning champion totally dominated second-placed Sydney but could not deliver the killer blow.

Melbourne had 21 shots to six and seven corners to one yet the game ended in a 0-0 stalemate to preserve the Victory's three-point lead at the top of the table over Sydney with eight matches remaining.

For Muscat - who became only the second Australian player after Alex Tobin to play 500 career games on Saturday night - the match left him with mixed emotions.

"I just said to the boys I don't think we could have done much more apart from get that goal which would have broken the deadlock - it was an unbelievable effort," the Melbourne Victory captain said after the game.

Muscat said the Victory was 'unlucky' not to have taken all three points following a series of near misses, the most unlucky being when Archie Thompson's shot smashed against the cross bar as early as the second minute.

"In all honesty we couldn't have done much more apart from hitting the target and getting a goal," he said.

Muscat said he sensed his team-mates' extra desire to win for him in his milestone game but after the huge build-up to his 500th game, the Victory skipper said he was glad it was all over.

"I didn-t think I would get emotionally caught up in the whole week but to be honest it probably drained me a little bit," he said.

"But once we got out there I sensed a burning desire from the boys to get a result and unfortunately it didn't happen but not from the want of trying."

"But I will still take a lot away from that (milestone game) - maybe not now but when I retire in a few years to come."

Victory coach Ernie Merrick said the performance was a huge improvement on his team's 3-0 loss to Sydney earlier this season and was pleased his team had kept another clean sheet - its fourth in the past five matches - and maintained its three-point lead at the top of the table.

"The boys were really despondent (after the game) but I said you shouldn't be because you really dominated that game," Merrick said.

"We wanted to get forward, we wanted to create good goal scoring opportunities and I thought our play from the back to the front was terrific."

"It was another clean sheet and we played some entertaining stuff so it was a good all-round performance."

But while Melbourne had 21 shots to six, Merrick said his team lacked composure in front of goal.

"It wasn't good quality shooting, we caught them so many times on the break and we got our shots off but they just weren't accurate enough," he said.