PHOTO: Jim Webster
The Melbourne Victory jumped into the top two with a 3-1 win over a nine men Sydney FC in front of a sold out AAMI Park.
A brace from Marco Rojas and a single strike from Archie Thompson set Melbourne on the roar to victory, before Joel Griffiths made the Victory sweat for the last twenty minutes with his second in as many games.
Sydney weren’t discipline, though, as Tiago Calvano and Fabio were both sent off.
Back to back wins over Sydney leapfrogs the Victory over Adelaide into second.
With Spase Dilevski and Jimmy Jeggo injured Leigh Broxham started alongside the returning Billy Celeski in the middle of the park, whilst Mark Milligan sat in front of the back four which included Nick Ansell.
The Victory started on the front foot looking to gain the early momentum, but Broxham poked an effort wide, before a trademark Alessandro Del Piero free kick was easily caught by Victory custodian Nathan Coe.
The Victory pushed in the opening minutes and deservedly took the lead as Rojas’ long drive deflected off ex-Victory defender Sebastian Ryall before beating Sydney ‘keeper Vedran Janjetovic.
The game didn’t get any better for the Sky Blues who were dealt with a blow as Socceroo Brett Emerton was forced off just a minute after conceding. It was a bit of a déjà vu moment as the veteran came off injured in this fixture last season.
Sydney were getting into great positions out wide, especially down the left with former Victory fullback Fabio, however, the Sky Blues’ delivery was terrible allowing the Victory defence to easily clear.
The Melburnians continued to push, but only took a one-goal lead into the break after Broxham’s curler was well saved and Marcos Flores’ acrobatic attempt whistled past the upright.
The second-half was feisty with several bookings, and the sold out AAMI Park erupted as Tiago Calvano, who was already booked, seemed to elbow Broxham. Referee Chris Beath brought out his second yellow, before subsequently producing the red.
Joel Griffiths could have brought the ten men level, although the former Jet missed the golden chance dragging his effort across the face of goal.
The Victory immediately raced to the other end, before Celeski played in Thompson with a peach of a pass, which the Socceroos striker dispatched into the back of the net.
Five minutes later the Victory added their third via another deflection. Rojas maneuvered his way into the box, before his curling effort flicked off substitute Adam Griffiths.
The Sky Blues still fought, though, and cut the margin back to two. Joel Griffiths powered to the edge of the area and drilled his effort past a diving Coe.
Sydney finished with nine men as Fabio was given his second yellow card for a foul on Rojas so marched off with the Victory fans in jubilance.