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Victory power their way to top spot

In a game which had serious ramifications for the Premiers Plate, it was Melbourne Victory who edged closer to sealing the top spot with a dominant performance over Wellington Phoenix.

With first place on the ladder up for grabs, the game needed to be won by both Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix if they wanted to make the Premier’s Plate a reality.

Melbourne scored early in the game when, straight from kick off, Victory worked the ball into the Phoenix half. Besart Berisha saw Gui Finkler’s late run into the box and Finkler unmarked shot past Glen Moss and scored within the first minute of the match.

Melbourne played the opening stages with a relentless high pressure on the Wellington Phoenix, not allowing them to build attacks from the back resorting to long balls from the Phoenix to clear their lines.

Joel Griffiths went down injured with what appeared to be a serious knee injury after a bad landing from an aerial challenge. He was substituted for Kenny Cunningham in the twenty fifth minute.

Berisha had a chance to make it two for the Victory when he was played in on goal by Mark Milligan down the left channel, but his shot was well saved by an onrushing Glen Moss.

Just before the first half ended, the Phoenix has a chance to level the scores with a free-kick floated in from wide. The ball bounced in the box with and was headed clear which turned into a Victory counter attack. However, this was stopped in its tracks by a great tackle by Michael Boxall.

Melbourne Victory dominated the first half’s play with a patient build up from the back and great off the ball runs. The Victory’s interchange of passes all around the ground had the Phoenix chasing shadows.

Wellington Phoenix in the first half didn’t see the ball for much time and sloppily gave it away when they were in transition. Giving away needless fouls didn’t help their cause either.

The second half began with Wellington playing with more verve than they did in the first half, attacking the Victory goal however Victory got through the initial Wellington pressure and brought the game back under control.

Nathan Coe the Melbourne Victory goalkeeper injured himself collecting a loose ball and had to go off on the hour mark and was replaced by Laurence Thomas.

Victory then doubled their lead shortly after when they counter attacked down the middle of the pitch. Berisha received the ball on the edge of the area and went to play the ball to Gui Finkler who was running with him when it deflected off Andrew Durante’s foot and rolled pasted the wrong-footed Glen Moss.

Melbourne then scored a third from a scramble off a corner. The corner was played to an unmarked Fahid Ben Khalfallah who was ready on the edge of the area. His shot fell to Archie Thompson who shot from close range — one was blocked on the line but the ball fell straight back to him and he smashed it in the net from a metre out.

Wellington went on the attack after that goal and Roly Bonevacia had a free-kick from a threatening range but it didn’t dip enough and went over the bar.

Wellington tried to counter again down the left wing, with the ball being centred to Nathan Burns on the edge of the area. His shot, though, was cleared off the line by Daniel Georgievski and scrambled to safety for Victory.

In the end it was Melbourne Victory who comfortably won this game, with their high pressing, width and off the ball runs impressing from the outset. In this form, Victory are in the driver’s seat to win the Premiers Plate, as they are now a point clear at the top and have a game in hand.

Wellington now need to find the form the had before the international break if they are going to stay in the hunt for the A-League premiership.


Ultimate A-League ‘Player of the Year’ Votes
3 Besart Berisha (Melbourne Victory)
2 Gui Finkler (Melbourne Victory)
1 Daniel Georgievski (Melbourne Victory)
Youth Nick Ansell (Melbourne Victory)

About the author

avatarThom is a freelance journalist with a passion for all things football.

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