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Victory account for Phoenix in fiery encounter

This season’s top six has now been decided as Melbourne Victory took the three points home across the Tasman Sea, defeating Wellington Phoenix 4-1. Both sides were reduced to ten men either side of half-time but goals from Besart Berisha, Ollie Bozanic, Kosta Barbarouses, and George Howard made for a comfortable result for the away side.

Ernie Merrick made two changes after his side lost to Melbourne City last week. Thomas Doyle replaced Louis Fenton at left back while Blake Powell returned in attack as Hamish Watson was dropped to the bench.

The big team news for Melbourne Victory was the long awaited return of captain Carl Valeri. The skipper hadn’t played since round eight and made his return, replacing Rashid Mahazi as a substitute at the hour mark. Scott Galloway was the only change made to the side that beat Western Sydney Wanderers last week, replacing Stefan Nigro.

Victory got the early lead as Besart Berisha scored a goal reminiscent of Jamie Vardy’s recent effort against Germany. After Doyle comically skewed his clearance - kicking the ball into his own face - Kosta Barbarouses picked up the ball and drilled pass across the box to the Albanian who finished with a cheeky flick past Glen Moss at the front post.

Ollie Bozanic scored his third goal in two weeks after he latched on to Galloway’s cut-back. The attack started after Fahid Ben Khalfallah found space on the left flank. Galloway raced away on the overlapping run before putting the ball low into the box to pick out Bozanic who buried the ball into the bottom corner.

Victory were reduced to ten men in the second half through bizarre circumstances. Berisha was receiving treatment after a stray elbow from Ben Sigmund connected with the back of the Albanian’s head. Andrew Durante was clearly frustrated with the amount of time taken with Berisha’s treatment as he stood over him. Berisha kicked out at the Wellington defender and was shown a red card.

It was Wellington’s turn to have a man sent off early in the second half as Albert Riera was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Barbarouses.

Wellington fans were shown a preview of how well Gui Finkler and Barbarouses can combine, as a neat one-two saw the Kiwi played into the box to drill a ball past Moss to put the result beyond doubt.

Lawrence Thomas was desperately unlucky not to keep a clean sheet after producing a number of fine saves. Having tipped Michael McGlinchey’s long range drive onto the bar and out for a corner just moments before, the young shot-stopper was bitterly disappointed with his defenders as Roly Bonevacia’s low cross crept across the face of the goal and nestled its way inside Thomas’ far post.

McGlinchey then had a chance to halve the deficit just minutes later as Williams pointed to the spot after Hamish Watson was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by Carl Valeri. The 29-year-old stepped up to take the penalty but blasted his shot wide.

George Howard became the seventh individual goal scorer for Melbourne Victory this season as he stretched to push Archie Thompson’s cross past Moss. Thompson beat the offside trap in stoppage time before playing the ball across the top of the box which Howard put away for his first A-League goal.


Ultimate A-League ‘Player of the Season’ Votes

Votes are held for the final 5 rounds of the season.
Final tallies will be revealed after round 27.

About the author

avatarBorn and raised in Melbourne, Bill is a student journalist at Monash University and life-time fan of the round ball game.

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