Victory fans throw fake snakes at their former star
MELBOURNE Victory fans took sledging of former favourite Kosta Barbarouses to new levels at AAMI Park on Friday night, throwing rubber snakes on to the pitch.
The star striker shrugged off constant booing, scoring Sydney FC's second goal in a 3-0 win.
Barbarouses formed a deadly partnership with Ola Toivonen at Victory last season but was forced to leave due to salary cap restrictions.
The "snake" tag has taken on a life of its own on social media with Barbarouses tagged "Kosta the Cobra".
Barbarouses took it in his stride on Friday night, with Sydney FC coach Steve Corica adding to the theatre by giving him an exuberant hug as he came off.
"It was always going to happen. If everyone knew what really happened (with contract negotiations) they would not be as upset," Barbarouses told Fox Sports.
"At the end of the day I know the truth behind what's happened and my reasons for coming here.
"Life goes on. I'd be happy to be the bad guy, but I'm really happy with where I am."
In 2017, Sky Blues fans threw toy snakes at goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic after he moved to the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Kosta Barbarouses mingling with the tennis folk before tonights game. https://t.co/Sj801UGbmJ— Red Crow (@redcrow_28) January 24, 2020
Kosta the Cobra 🐍 pic.twitter.com/PqqQ5QM0y8— All Sides Of The Harbour (@asothdotcom) November 1, 2019
ALL NOT LOST FOR VICTORY
Melbourne Victory faces a monumental challenge over the next three weeks, but potential riches await on the other side of the mountain if they can overcome it.
As ridiculous as that sounds after a 3-0 trouncing from A-League champions Sydney FC ahead of Saturday's Asian Champions League trip to Kashima Antlers, there is hope.
A series of events conspired against Victory, headlined by star Marco Rojas' unavailability due to his international transfer not being cleared on time.
Tim Hoogland fell short, the Olyroos' impressive run at the Tokyo 2020 qualifiers robbed Victory of Tommy Deng, and Ola Toivonen's lack of match-sharpness cost him a goal as the Victory withdrew him with 20 minutes left in order to spare him for Asia.
Against a ruthless opponent like Sydney FC, led by the A-League's most underrated coach in Corica, it's a recipe for disaster.
Victory could drop as low as ninth, at least a game outside the top six ahead of the Japan trip, an away trip to in-form Perth Glory and the Melbourne derby, before potential Asian qualification that will test its depth.
It was a forgettable home debut for interim coach, Spaniard Carlos Salvachua, who is clearly eyeing off the job permanently.
The changes from predecessor Marco Kurz were evident, beyond the Van Heusen suit, and the players' body language was positive.
Victory was bolder and more offensive, but its lack of cutting edge in a first half they largely controlled proved catastrophic, as golden boot leader Adam Le Fondre exploited an inexperienced defence, along with Barbarouses and Alex Baumjohann.
"We need to find positives. We have to continue with this group of players," Salvachua said.
A small change like swapping Leigh Broxham and Ben Carrigan at stoppers could have made a difference - for Carrigan, who was making his starting debut, would have benefitted from playing between experienced duo Adama Traore and Broxham at left stopper, where he played often for Victory's youth team.
Once Tim Hoogland (injured), Tommy Deng (Olyroos) and James Donachie (suspended) return, it will strengthen the defence considerably and transform the balance of the entire squad.
Throw Rojas into the mix and all of a sudden it's a pretty potent and balanced combination.
MELBOURNE VICTORY 0
SYDNEY FC 3 (Le Fondre 27, Barbarouses 53, Baumjohann 85)
Crowd: 17,814 at AAMI Park
Victory (4-5-1): Thomas; Roux, Carrigan, Broxham, Traore; Basha, Lesiotis (Lauton 73) x; Nabbout, Kruse, Kamsoba (Hope 84); Toivonen (Athiu 73).
Sky Blues (4-4-2): Redmayne; Grant, McGowan, Wilkinson, King; Brattan, Retre (Caceres 73), Baumjohann, Ninkovic (Van der Saag 89); Barbarouses (Ivanovic 80), Le Fondre.
Referee: Alex King
Red cards: Broxham 90+4, Baumjohann 90+4.
DAVUTOVIC'S MAN OF THE MATCH: ALEX BAUMJOHANN (SYDNEY FC)
The German has taken his game to another level since joining Sydney FC from local rivals Western Sydney, involved in all three goals.
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