Melbourne Victory have extended their unbeaten run to 14 games, recording a 3-1 win at AAMI Park over the Wellington Phoenix in slippery conditions.
Having played their third game in seven days, there were no signs of fatigue for the Victory. They’d get off to a hot start courtesy of Nicholas D’Agostino who scored from close range inside the opening two minutes of the game.
Though they started on the back foot, the Phoenix got back into the game as Joshua Brillante and Leigh Broxham both conceded penalties within a minute of each other.
Though the Victory got out of jail after captain Brillante conceded a penalty for a hand ball in the 19th minute, as Ivan Kelava denied Reno Piscopo from the spot, they wouldn’t be lucky the second time. After Broxham’s challenge on Piscopo in the 21st minute inside the penalty area resulted in another chance for the Phoenix, Gael Sandoval snuck the ball past Kelava to level the scores.
With the scores tied at one goal a piece at half time, D’Agostino looked to have put the Victory ahead again on the hour mark. His right footed shot from the centre of the box tucked away nicely in the bottom right corner. Though the goal wouldn’t stand.
With VAR consulted, it was determined that Rai Marchan conceded a foul and Louis Fenton’s hand made contact with the ball in the lead up to the goal. Referee Shaun Evans scrapped the initial goal, he pointed to the spot and awarded a penalty for the third time in the game.
It took seven minutes for a decision to be made, though it would be worth the wait for the Victory. Jake Brimmer converted from the spot and ensured his side restored their lead.
Having threatened to score in the opening half, Kiwi maestro Marco Rojas sealed the game in the 78th minute with a header from close range. Left unmarked at the right post, Jason Davidson teed him up perfectly with a cross.
The Victory would be delighted to see off the Phoenix, with the side’s undefeated streak still intact, they’re quickly catching up on Melbourne City for top spot on the ladder.
It would be a game of high drama, with three penalties awarded on the night, with referee Evans having a busy night, referring to VAR on multiple occasions.
Having been the dominant side in the early going of the opening half, the Victory halted their own momentum, conceding two penalties to help their opponents get back into the contest.
While ‘keeper Kelava was able to deny Piscopo from the spot after a Brillante hand ball, the Victory wasted little time to concede a second penalty, conceding a second penalty two minutes later. Though let go initially, referee Shaun Evans referred to VAR to determine Broxham fouled Piscopo inside the penalty box.
With the Croatian unable to make a second save, the Victory were made to pay. And with Broxham receiving his fifth yellow card of the season, he will now be unavailable for the Victory’s next fixture against Sydney.
The Victory would then get a penalty of their own in the second half. Phoenix defender Fenton’s hand ball in the 61st minute, cancelling out D’Agostino’s goal, resulting in a penalty being given, with Brimmer converting to put the Victory ahead.
DAVIDSON VICTORIOUS IN HIS 50TH
Having been one of the highlights for the Victory this season, left-back Jason Davidson had an enjoyable 50th game, with his side recording an impressive victory.
Having been arguably the Victory’s player of the season, the defender would put in another impressive performance for his milestone game, finishing the game with an assist, eight recoveries and was influential with his dribbling ability throughout the night.
Coming off late during injury time, Davidson would get a standing ovation from the Victory faithful, which would be a fitting end to a memorable night out.
RECORD BREAKING VUCK
The Victory’s two goal win over Wellington would ensure the side went their past 14 games without a defeat.
Having lost to the Western Sydney Wanderers 2-0 mid-February, the Victory have not be on the losing end since, with the club going on an impressive run since then.
The greatest run of results in the club’s history, the Victory looked to have hit their straps at the right time. One of the in-form teams of the competition, the side would be hopeful of keeping their momentum going into the finals.