Cosmos v Strikers

Round 19 report by Chris Kunz
Canberra Cosmos v Brisbane Strikers

Rarely have I seen one Canberra player dominate a game the way Alex Castro did tonight. His tackling, control, turning, twisting, acceleration and passing were a constant in a Canberra side that struggled to keep up with his inspiration.

It could have been a disaster after only 7 minutes - Peter Buljan returned to his old home ground and had a goal disallowed; while the Strikers also struck the bar - before Castro did the same with a header after 10.

The frenetic start lapsed into 15 min of unremarkable football, that awakened with more chances for both sides as half-time approached.

The evening was in the process of wrapping a purple edged cloak over the surrounding green hills as Castro covered the ground to two defenders, and struck a shot while falling to the ground past the stranded Brisbane keeper.

From then on, it should have been a question of how many - but how many times has a Canberra team failed to capitalise on crucial occasions...?

The first of 13,000 family packs were handed out to registering junior players from this morning - no doubt encouraging a few parents to make a late decision to attend. With 3 home games in a row, a Cosmos win may have tempted more to taste more than just the Cosmos Pizza that Eagle Boys produce.

Like a nervous suitor, unwilling to overdo his approaches, the Cosmos passed the ball back when forward seemed a more attractive proposition. Chances they certainly had - Cortes stripping the Brisbane defence bare, but leaving a limp lob short of a magnificent climax.

Cortes had the ball in the net earlier - but in high farce the referee 'overruled' the linesman in blowing for offside, then went to consult with his assistant to (presumably) confirm his incompetence.

Who said that history never repeats - Cosmos had scored last minute goals to draw in 'The Perfect State', and now the boys in banana and blue scored a scrappy one for an undeserved (on their second half performance) draw.

As the crowd left the Sports Triangle (NBL Cannons v Titans in the Palace 100m away and Athletics on the Athletics field forming a 300m hypotenuse from the Palace and 150m from Bruce) and disappeared into the warmth of the Canberra evening, many were cheered by the spectacle, but questioning of another great opportunity lost.