The Melbourne Victory have jumped back into the top three after thrashing the Newcastle Jets 5-0 at AAMI Park, which included doubles from Marco Rojas and Mark Milligan.
The Victory eased through the contest and lead 3-0 at half-time thanks to Rojas’ first strike, Leijer’s header and a Milligan penalty.
The Jets had to play the majority of the second-half with ten after Taylor Regan’s send off on 56 minutes. Regan’s red card gave Milligan the opportunity to dispatch his second penalty which he made not mistake with, before Rojas capped off the win in style.
The win for Blue and White jumps the Victory into third over Adelaide United who lost to Brisbane Roar earlier in the round, but the Victory are still six points behind the Mariners in second.
The Victory were all over the Jets in the first-half and raced to a three-goal lead, which the Melburnians held into the break, partly thanks to the returning Archie Thompson who was brilliant in the hole just behind the wide forwards of Rojas and Connor Pain.
Thompson and Rojas combined sensationally in just the eighth minute as Thompson’s inch-perfect through ball sent Rojas on his way. The New Zealander then made no mistake tucking his strike underneath the charging Mark Birighitti.
Leigh Broxham could have joined the scoresheet for just the second time in his A-League career with a well-directed header, but Birighitti was at his best turning the ball around for a corner.
Birighitti however couldn’t deny the Victory from the resulting corner as Leijer ran onto the end of Rojas’ corner and found the back of the net with a cushioned header.
On 17 minutes, just two minutes after Leijer doubled the lead, Victory’s other centre back Daniel Mullen thought he completed a fairytale for the Blue and White after powerfully heading into the bottom corner from another Rojas corner.
But with most of the Victory players back in position for the restart, the referee Jarred Gillett disallowed the goal because Milligan seemed to have made contact with Ruben Zadkovich’s face while the cross came in.
The Victory were clearly not happy with Gillett’s decision, however, Ange Postecoglou’s side didn’t have to wait long for the sought after third they thought they should have already had.
Thompson was the architect once again on 29 minutes and the Socceroo was brought down in the box by Regan, who was consequently given his first booking. Milligan stepped up and coolly slotted straight down the middle.
Credit to the Victory who pushed from the start of the second-half and were unfortunate not to add a fourth as Connor Pain struck the foot of the post.
But shortly after being denied by the woodwork, the Jets lost a man as Regan was sent off after receiving his second bookable offence for dragging down Mullen inside the box. Once again Milligan stepped up and dispatched his spot-kick into the bottom corner with Birighitti grounded.
Rojas then added his fourteenth goal of the season in spectacular fashion. The former Phoenix winger was picked out in the box, beat a defender, danced around Birighitti and slotted into the open net.