The two and a half minute Lesson
If you haven't taped it or don't have a mate who's got a copy, be sure to catch or record a replay on Fox. For those of you who missed this morning's replay, there's one at 3.30am on Friday (by the time you read this you've probably missed that as well). The next replay I've found is 1.30am (Eastern) next Wednesday, April 30, so be sure to ask around.
Anyway, get your hands on it however you can (even send me an email if you're desperate and I'll see what I can do).
Trust me, it's worth it, and you don't have to watch it all, I promise.
All I want you to do is fast forward it to the 28 minutes and 30 seconds mark and then tune in for the next two and a half minutes. It's worth every second and every effort.
It's 0-0, almost half an hour in. Melbourne throw-in on the left hand flank, in their own half. Kemp takes it and finds Ward's feet, under pressure he turns back and plays it to Ryall in central defence, who plays a one-two with Celeski on the right. Ryall has time, looks up and squares it to his skipper Muscat, who takes one touch, and instead of the using the short option of Ward, who is available in space and asking for it in the centre of midfield, decides to go long to Allsopp, who, under pressure from the Gamba right back, can only head it straight to the Gamba keeper. Aimless stuff.
Immediately the Gamba keeper is looking for a short option and releases it to a nearby defender, who plays it into central midfield for Yasuhito Endo, who goes back to one of his central defenders, before asking for it again. Under a bit of pressure, in central midfield, Endo receives the ball a second time, releases it quickly, and gets it back a third time, all in the space of a few seconds. Another teammate gets a touch in central midfield before the ball is at the back again, worked from left to right.
Ten passes later, none more than 10 metres, there is a forward option, and the ball is played across the half-way line. This time it's a 30 metre ball, on the deck and accurately to the feet of an attacking midfielder, who is coming to meet it.
A quick one-touch flick from Takahiro Futagawa, facing his own goal, seemingly with eyes in the back of his head, finds its intended target. A sharp triangle and Futagawa is back on the ball, facing forward, looking to hit Bare, who wins a free-kick some 30 metres out and 14 beautifully constructed passes later.
Nothing comes of Endo's free kick. Melbourne clear it with a header which falls to Yasuda on the left, who takes one touch and sends it back into 'the mixer'. Gamba give away a free-kick competing for the ball on the edge of the Victory box and their attack is over.
It seems like an eternity, but Melbourne get another chance to have the ball. What can they do with it?
From the quickly taken free-kick, Melbourne play it out to Celeski, this time popping up on the left, close to the line. Under pressure from a fast-closing Endo he goes back to Vargas, who is being closed down by Bare.
First time, Vargas knocks the ball long, over the halfway line, where it is met by the chest of unmarked Gamba midfielder Hideo Hashimoto. In one touch, with the chest, moving forward, he controls and passes to Futagawa, who plays a quick one-two with Hashimoto, who has continued his run forward.
Taking it in his stride, Hashimoto links with Endo, who has drifted out to the right. Endo flicks it down the line, into Hashimoto's run and another one-two has just been executed.
Not content with the movement and passing to date, Endo continues his run. Hashimoto ignores it for once and clips a square ball towards the head of Bare, who cushions a sublime header directly into the path of the Endo run.
It's all about the weight and timing.
Suddenly Endo, who by my calculations has already touched the ball five times and covered every part of the pitch in the past two and a half minutes, gets his sixth and most vital touch. Running onto the Bare cushion, because it's better than a pass, he looks square and weights a delightful short cross, on the deck, to the near post for Masato Yamazaki to drill past Theoklitos.
Goal? Try Lesson. Melbourne ripped apart by technique - the movement, patience, one-and-two-touch play, the triangles, flicks, perfectly weighted touches with ever part of the body and the in-synch Gamba play.
Certainly one of the most inventive and constructive team goals and passages of play I've seen in a very long time, and a lesson to us all.
Be sure to watch it and show a friend or 40, and do let me know your thoughts when you do.