| PHOTO: Maria Zarkadoulos |
The Melbourne Victory finally got the better of the Perth Glory in Western Australia with a gutsy, yet unconvincing, 1-0 win on Saturday evening.
The Victory were wasteful, but to be fair, the Glory were disappointing and never really looked like scoring. They failed to punish Ange Postecoglou’s side.
The game’s only goal came on 24 minutes as Scott Jamieson poked into his own net from a dangerous Marco Rojas cross. The Victory went on to register their first win at nib Stadium since November 2009.
It was one of the Victory’s poorer performances in recent weeks as the Blue and Whites didn’t hit their usual fluency.
Their passing was off as the usual reliable Mark Milligan misplaced a lot of simple passes, while Jimmy Jeggo in his second start turned over the ball far too often.
Marcos Flores, however, hit the form all Victory fans had expected of the Argentine. After a slow start to his career in Melbourne the former Adelaide playmaker’s passing was top notch, classy and at times deservedly cocky.
The Argentine’s confidence had returned which was evident as Flores used the outside of his foot on several occasions to set up teammates, just like on five minutes finding Thompson who was brilliantly denied by Glory ‘keeper Danny Vukovic.
But what got the Victory over the line was the solid back four, which included Leigh Broxham partnering Skipper Adrian Leijer in the heart of the defence in the absence of Nick Ansell. Also, Diogo Ferreira and Adama Traore ensured Dean Heffernan and Travis Dodd on the Glory flanks were kept quiet.
In the second-half, the Glory had the better of the possession as the Victory defence seemed to only care about clearing their lines.
However the Glory front third didn’t have much to offer. Ian Ferguson’s side’s only real route to goal was from crosses sent in from wide positions and the corners sent into the box by Liam Miller and Jamieson.
Shane Smeltz lead the line, although the New Zealander was isolated and rarely involved.
Rojas ran rampant on the left wing, causing young fullback Josh Risdon plenty of problems.
But Rojas wasn’t perfect as the Kiwi butchered several opportunities, including a golden chance while one-on-one with Vukovic.
But because the Glory were unable to break through the Victory back four, except for Ryo Nagai striking the crossbar via a deflection in stoppage-time, Rojas went unpunished.
Against the inform heavyweights of Adelaide and the Central Coast those missed opportunities won’t go unpunished, just like in Launceston last weekend.
Any win in Perth is a massive win. It doesn’t matter if the Glory are out of form and are rock bottom or if a grand final spot is up for grabs, Perth is always a tough road trip.
Postecoglou and co should be delighted to escape with all three.
The win closes the gap between the Victory and the second placed Adelaide United to two points, while the Central Coast Mariners are a further three ahead, but the luck of the draw did factor in the win because a stronger side wouldn’t have let the Melburnians leave with all three.
The Victory won ugly. They didn’t play their best, but still took a crucial three points back to Melbourne, which definitely helps their credentials because championship-winning sides win ugly.