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Victory overcome Hume to qualify for Cup final

A spirited display by Hume City wasn’t enough on Wednesday night, as the reigning A-League Champions Melbourne Victory qualified for the FFA Cup final with a hard-fought 3-0 win.

Over 6,000 fans made the trip to AAMI Park for the match which, for large portions, was a tight affair, with the Victory struggling to break down the NPL side’s well-structured defence despite a clear advantage in the possession stakes.

Kevin Muscat opted for a different looking defensive line-up than what we’ve become accustomed to seeing, with young defenders Scott Galloway, Jason Geria and Giancarlo Gallifuoco joining the experienced Matthieu Delpierre across the back.

The opening half hour saw few chances on goal. Former Victory striker Theo Markelis looked dangerous for Hume, and could’ve earned his side a penalty in the 6th minute, when his cross into the box inadvertently struck the arm of Victory defender Jason Geria. Referee Ben Williams, who was well positioned to see the incident, decided against awarding the home side a penalty.

Jesse Makarounas, starting in place of Gui Finkler, looked the most likely for the Victory. A 14th minute right-footed shot by the young midfielder seemed destined to find the back of the net, if not for the intervention of Hume’s English goalkeeper Chris Oldfield.

In fact, Oldfield would be his side’s saviour on many occasions throughout the game, as he largely kept the highly-skilled Victory attacking line at bay.

The referee would be in the thick of the action just before half time, though, when Besart Berisha was adjudged to have been fouled in the box, with replays suggesting Hume’s Bradley Walker had a handful of the Albanian’s shirt as he went to ground. Berisha duly converted the chance from the penalty spot, having now scored in each stage of this season’s FFA Cup.

Victory pressed hard for a second goal after half time, but Oldfield was up to the task. In the 58th minute, a stinging, swerving shot by Makarounas was palmed away by the Hume stopper, before he tipped away Barabarouses’ shot on the rebound.

Hume’s best chance of the game fell to substitute Souheil Azagane in the 68th minute, when he turned away cleverly from Gallifuoco and was through one-on-one with Vukovic. The former Glory keeper, though, was up to the task, pulling off a brilliant save to keep Victory in front.

Eventually, Melbourne found their second goal, although it took until the 89th minute for them to do so. Some sharp passing between Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Berisha and Barbarouses allowed the New Zealand international to fire home into the bottom corner from just outside the penalty area.

A third goal came in the dying moments of stoppage time, with Barbarouses able to slip past one Hume defender before laying off for Jason Geria to score his first competitive goal in Victory colours.

The win will see Melbourne host the FFA Cup final on the 7th of November at AAMI Park, with Perth Glory making the trip across the Nullarbor to try and go one better than they did last season.

About the author

avatarJustin is a passionate football fan, and the Editor-in-chief of Ultimate A-League.

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